My Digital Campaign – tell me what you think

I recently negotiated free WiFi internet access for Morley town centre thanks to a partnership with the Morley Chamber of Commerce and O2. Over the next year or so people will be able to use their phones and other devices to get online in the town centre. But when this goes live in a few weeks time, I’m really interested to know how people might use this great opportunity to benefit Morley.

But while for many of us, the digital world is something we take for granted, I know for others it’s a total mystery. Last year Labour commissioned an independent report into digital skills that showed 13% of adults in the UK had never used the internet, 30% of people with disabilities had never used the internet and 52% of those who lack basic online skills are 65 or older. I also know from my own surgeries and meetings across the constituency that lots of people want to know more about the digital world but feel cut off from it.

Increasingly, not being ‘online’ is a real disadvantage in the modern world. If you have difficulty getting around, being able to order your shopping online and have it delivered could be a real lifesaver. If you’re living on a pension or a low income, searching out the best deals for insurance or energy bills can save a lot of money. If you live alone, being able to use Skype and Facetime can keep you in touch with family and friends.

The internet can mean freedom, independence and knowledge.

It also means jobs. Around 745,000 digital jobs will be created in the next few years. With 975,000 young people still long term unemployed digital skills can make a huge difference to their opportunities. But only if our education system provides the skills necessary.

There are also more and more services that are only available online. For example, Universal Credit which the Government says people will only be able to apply for online. So it is vital that not only does everyone in society have the skills they need to navigate the internet, but the hardware and connections necessary to log on.

But along with all the added freedoms and opportunities from the internet there are risks as well. It is really important adults, and especially children and vulnerable groups stay safe online and that people know dangers of being connected and how to protect themselves and their personal information.
I’d be grateful if you could take a few moments to fill in my survey, please click here.

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Posted September 11th, 2014 by Ed's team