In an increasingly digital world, it’s startling to learn that one in five adults in the UK lacks the essential digital skills required for daily life. This gap not only affects personal growth but also has a tangible impact on household finances. Did you know that by harnessing digital skills, UK households could save an impressive £1,500 annually just by smart online shopping?
A recent survey by Virgin Media O2 and the Good Things Foundation reveals a concerning digital divide. Despite the potential savings, 43% of the surveyed 2,000 adults struggle to keep pace with technological advancements, a figure that alarmingly rises to 58% among those aged 65 and above. Only 54% consider themselves “tech-savvy,” indicating a significant skills gap.
Helen Milner OBE, CEO of the Good Things Foundation, emphasizes that this digital divide has deepened since the pandemic. The lack of internet access means missing out on not just economic benefits like cost savings and job opportunities but also increased risks of loneliness.
During Get Online Week, the National Digital Inclusion Network is taking proactive steps by hosting events to assist communities in bridging this gap. Milner highlights the joint efforts with Virgin Media O2 and other partners to provide data, devices, and digital literacy, striving to permanently close the digital divide.
Why does this matter for Birmingham? Well, becoming digitally savvy has immediate financial benefits. Households can reduce costs by £47.20 per month. This includes substantial savings like £566 annually on supermarket bills, nearly £400 through insurance comparison sites, and roughly £280 by comparing utility prices online.
Dana Haidan, the chief sustainability officer at Virgin Media O2, acknowledges the daunting nature of technology for many. As part of their goal to enhance the digital skills of six million people by the end of 2025, they’re offering hundreds of free digital skills lessons across the UK in collaboration with the Good Things Foundation.
These initiatives are not just about savings; they’re about empowering individuals. Whether it’s booking medical appointments online, uploading a CV to a job site, or video calling a loved one, digital skills open a world of opportunities and connections.
Birmingham, it’s time to embrace the digital age. Not only can it enrich our lives, but it can also significantly lighten the load on our wallets. Let’s join hands to bridge this digital divide, unlocking a future of possibilities and financial savvy.