Michaela Límová (Association of SW in the Czech Rep., Professional Chamber of SW)
Topic: People at risk of digital exclusion
According to statistical data, more and more people are using the internet in the Czech Rep. Nevertheless, especially in the category of seniors, the numbers are not increasing as fast. Only 1/3 of seniors use the internet daily. Only 3 out of 10 seniors over 65 own a smartphone, only 23% of people over 75 use the internet. Other people who are not always “online” include persons with disadvantages, ones living in socially excluded locales, in substandard housing, the long-term unemployed, and also people who made a conscious choice to be “off-line” and not participate in the digital world.
Today’s world is also merciless to people who move frequently, to those for whom other expenses are vital, people in various life situations – illness, injury, weak one´s social capital. State and public administration is becoming digitized, it is desirable and encouraged to manage your affairs via the internet. Those who do not keep up are excluded, threatened by the impossibility of exercising their rights and claims. There is danger of dehumanization, ageism, being fake-news target, etc. What is the role of a social worker in this? Support the teaching of digital competences? It is necessary to point out the pitfalls of digitization, to lower the threshold for those who “do not keep up with the times”, to help individually, but also to be the voice of the potentially excluded, or rather to support them to raise their heads on their own.