Some young people are going into church youth groups to do their homework because they can’t access the internet at home, according to a church leader reaching out to the digitally excluded.
It comes as a House of Lords Committee is urging the Prime Minister to take urgent action to tackle digital exclusion. A report by its Communications and Digital Committee this week said at least 2.4 million people can’t complete a single digital task and five million workers will be digitally under-skilled by 2030.
It also found that around 1.7million households have no broadband or internet access.
Pippa Cramer is a church leader who set up the Daily Hope helpline during the pandemic – it enables people to listen to church services and prayers over the phone if they don’t have access to the internet. She told Premier what she is seeing :
“It’s a huge problem and not just with older people. Everything is shifting online from car-parking apps to online banking. I think that the cost of living crisis has had a huge impact on this. One of the reasons a lot of young people come along to our local youth group is because they haven't got access to internet at home. So they will come and they will do their homework there because their families can’t afford the cost of it. It’s really worrying.”
Pippa Cramer says churches are well-placed to support people who are digitally excluded :
“In our church we have a group that meets every week for seniors, where we provide support and we have a technology table. So people can come and get support and help with things like computers, or things like learning how to use a mobile phone or how to Skype their grandchild, for example.
“As churches and as individual Christians we have a unique opportunity for this sort of intergenerational support.”