For my family the negative impacts of lockdown have been limited to some extent by shifting even more of our daily lives online – most notably video calls with family and friends. Online shopping, browsing Instagram for ideas to entertain the baby and downloads of podcasts have also definitely seen a significant increase. Lockdown is hardly a bed of roses, but these things definitely help. With this in mind, Cat Macaulay’s tweet (below) really struck a chord when I read it a few days ago.
Covid-19 is not affecting all people equally. It is widening the inequalities faced by so many, but the digital divide is particularly striking. (This includes people who do not have: access to a device, the means to pay for digital access or the necessary digital skills.) There’s no easy fix. As we move forward I think there are two paths which both need to be followed – first, find new and better ways for those who are digitally-excluded to gain access to the digital world (IF individuals want to) and secondly, ensure that access to services is not wholly reliant on a digital channel. There needs to be an immediate response to get through the lockdown period, but then also a longer-term, more fundamental response.
I’m glad to see that there is action happening here in Scotland – this post by the SCVO explains more about the challenges and the “emergency national aid effort to mobilise” those at risk and digital excluded.