Get Online Week is helping to decrease digital and financial exclusion

This week is Get Online Week, organised by Good Things Foundation Australia, running from 17-23 October. It is an important reminder about the digital exclusion faced by many Australians.

Digital exclusion has been a growing problem as essential services are increasingly moved online. Medical appointments, personal banking, bill payments, welfare support, education, work, social connection, entertainment – these services are all becoming more and more digital, and this process sped up considerably during the recent pandemic.

The problem is that vulnerable groups of people face barriers to using these online services. These barriers include:

  • A lack of online infrastructure and access
  • Inadequate finances to pay for digital devices and internet fees
  • Lack of skills and knowledge to get online
  • Fears about cybersecurity, hacks and personal information

According to the Digital Nation Australia 2021 report:

87% of jobs require digital skills
77% of adults used apps to connect with others in 2020
61% of Australians lack confidence identifying misinformation online

The good news is that, generally speaking, digital exclusion in Australia is slowly decreasing, but for some people the digital divide is still growing.

Digital and financial exclusion

Financial services and personal banking have long ago embraced digital technology, and these essential services have been transitioning to digital for many years.

But there are many people who can’t, for example, get adequate network access, afford a data plan, smart phone or can’t create their own email address, and they will not be able to do any online banking at all. So people who experience digital exclusion often experience financial exclusion too. The two are closely linked. And this is why one of our recommendations to state policy makers is to increase digital knowledge and access.

The theme for this year’s Get Online Week is try one thing. It is an invitation for people to get support and try one new online task to build their digital capability. Good Things Foundation is offering free supports to do this, including a series of digital skills events throughout the week.

Read more about Get Online Week here.

Here is a video from Get Online Week that asks us all to try one thing.


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