Living online: The long term impact on wellbeing – Submission of evidence

Living online: The long term impact on wellbeing – Submission of evidence

Submission to The House of Lords COVID-19 Committee. Living online: the long-term impact on wellbeing – Professor Angie Hart, Mirika Flegg, Dr Karina Rodriguez, Alyssa O’Keefe, Viktoria Erlacher, Dr Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, and Pauline Wigglesworth, Sam Richardson, Rosie Gordon.

November 27 2020: In this submission to The House of Lords a bunch of us with different experiences shared our thoughts around how individuals and groups can better access online environments.  We suggested the government may potentially help people access the digital world by improving 3 main things: Digital inclusivity, accessibility and, data accountability. 

Digital Inclusivity:

We argued that improved Digital inclusivity is about making sure ‘everyone’ has access to technology and infrastructure (i.e. the tools they need to get online).  When we talk about ‘everyone’ we are talking about people often not asked (like young people, charities and third-sector groups).  Because people haven’t always had a voice, we recommended some new research be done to include those often left out.  We talked about things like young people maybe having a phone, but maybe not having enough data. We suggested focusing on supporting those groups that are trying to help others so they have the tools to do their jobs differently (i.e. online) if they need to.  Young people said it was really important that we need to do more to stop bullying so that all people feel safe around others (in-person and online).

Digital Accessibility:

We said that it is really important that we design things in the digital world so that all sorts of different types of people can use them and participate.  We highlighted that this isn’t always done now, and gave some examples.  We recommended a few changes in policy that may help.  We also think it would help to raise awareness around why it is important to design things with the needs of diverse people in mind, like people with disabilities.  We reminded the government that the UK has a history of doing this and it should be celebrated.

Data Accountability:

We talked about how it is important that everyone is told in advance about what data is being collected about them when they go online or use different tools.  We think they should have a choice around what that data is used for.  We said that the government should ask that this information be available to people in lots of different ways, because we all learn differently.

We asked the government to improve these areas and gave them some suggestions on how it could be done.  We recommended some things be looked at this year because they are really important to make sure people can connect to one another.

You can read the full submission. You might think about sending our response to your local MP, who can then draw on it for their own lobbying purposes.

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