Digital skills and safety
The Government’s Essential Digital Skills framework provides five categories for the skills that are essential for everyday life and work: communicating, handling information and content, problem-solving, transacting, and – finally – being safe online.
There are currently 11.9 million people in the UK who lack the essential digital skills for life. This means that one in five people struggle to communicate, search for health information, or access government services online.
Online safety is central to what being ‘digitally included’ means. It is especially important for people who are new or limited users of the internet (often older people, and working-age adults with low educational attainment and low incomes) and those in vulnerable situations. Around 6 in 10 adults report having had a least one potentially harmful experience online in the past year (Ofcom/ICO 2020).
Covid-19 has revealed the value of digital technology in our lives – enabling many of us to learn, earn, stay safe, informed, and connected. It has also raised major concerns about digital exclusion, as too many have been locked out of these benefits. The pandemic has spurred innovation and acceleration in digital services and the use of data, not least in supporting the public health and healthcare response. There have also been reports of a rise in online abuse, online scams, online consumer harms relating to mental health, and the spread of misinformation and disinformation during the pandemic.
Related news and insights
Digital inclusion and online safety for adults in the UK
This report into adult safety online explores the kinds of safety risks adults face on the internet and how to incorporate digital safety into digital inclusion.
A new manifesto for digital inclusion
Adam Micklewaithe, our Director of Digital Social Inclusion, discusses what needs to be done post-covid to make sure everyone has access to essential digital devices, connectivity and skills.
We need to get ready for a digital economy
Helen Milner OBE, Good Things Foundation CEO and Carol Lake, Head of International Philanthropy, J.P. Morgan explain why digital skills and access are essential to help us in a digital economy.