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Our society is now connected through the internet and it is becoming essential to many aspects of our lives including relationships, jobs and services. But what about the many Australians who have never used the internet?
The next Digital Culture Talk 1pm, Friday 30 October will offer ideas and solutions for how we can become a truly leading, inclusive and digital nation. Digital literacy is important to us at the Library as we aspire to make our collection accessible to all Australians. Providing digital services and resources is a significant way to provide access to those who can't visit the Library. We asked our partners at Go Digi to tell us more about digital inclusion and how you can help.
It’s estimated that approximately 3.7 million Australians are not connected to the internet and even more don’t have the skills or confidence they need to get online effectively. These people include:
As our world becomes increasingly digital, these Australians are left further and further behind.
Digital inclusion means making sure no-one is left behind. Digital inclusion means making sure everyone has the tools and knowledge they need to make the most out of technology in a way that’s relevant and beneficial to them. As more government and business services move to a digital first model, the imperative for all Australians to be online effectively increases.
Some of the barriers that face Australia in becoming a truly digitally inclusive society include:
Device costs—the costs for each individual to buy a device and maintain it (for example, replace broken screen, or upgrade software).
Internet connection costs—the cost of connecting your home to the internet and maintaining that connection.
Geographical—many parts of Australia have slow or unreliable internet connections. Some parts of Australia are not connected at all.
Physical—over 20% of Australians live with a disability. Sometimes this requires extra equipment to adapt standard hardware and software.
The concept and value of the internet—Australians around the country are unsure of how internet and technology can be relevant to them.
The skills to use technology and the internet effectively—many Australians who are aware of the benefits are unsure or scared about getting started or improving their skillset and confidence.
There are many national programs, policies and people dedicated to the affordability and accessibility of the Internet and technology. There are not as many programs dedicated to making sure people know about the internet and technology and how it can help them. Because the people who are offline don’t know that they’re supposed to know about the internet and technology, they can’t ask for help. That’s where Go Digi comes in!
Go Digi is a program aimed to get 300,000 Australians to realise their online potential. It is run in partnership by Infoxchange and Australia Post. It was launched in late February this year at the Library.
The program works with many different people and organisations around Australia to put learners at the centre of what we do. By connecting the dots of other programs with similar objectives, we can make sure more people are connected to an opportunity to learn. For a learner, this might be looking up a face-to-face learning event on the Go Digi platform, it could be learning online with easy to read Go Digi learning guides or other handy extras. It might be that they’ve asked someone they know to become a Go Digi mentor so that they get some help to improve their digital skills.
Next year in 2016, Go Digi will be leading the way for the National Year of Digital Inclusion (NYDI), with a series of events and festivals.
There’s never been a better time to celebrate the benefits and discuss the importance of digital inclusion.
For many connected Australians, life without the internet would be a very different world. In 2016, the NYDI is an opportunity to come together to raise awareness of this difference and the practical things that organisations and individuals can do to help.
2016 is also an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of being online and the difference it does make to people’s lives all around the country.
We want to work with as many people as possible to make 2016 the National Year of Digital Inclusion a success!
Right now you can:
We’d love to hear from you.
Everyone on the Go Digi team loves the deep connections libraries have with the communities they work in. Many libraries work tirelessly to build up their communities with little fanfare or praise. Well, we just want to say, that we love you libraries and all the amazing things that you do. Libraries change lives. And we’re so glad that we can play a small part in that.