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“60 million European have never used the Internet, and 45% of Europeans don’t have enough digital skills” (Digital Scoreboard 2016)”. In the next three years, the European Platform of Social NGOs (Social Platform) will be working with members on digital inclusion, as part of its strategic action “Leaving no one behind – prioritizing people in vulnerable situations”.

On the 13th March, Claire Champeix participated in the name of Eurocarers in a Workshop on Digital Inclusion organised by the Social Platform in order to share good practices and discuss the role of new technologies in the accessibility and delivery of services.

Several projects that promote digital inclusion involving Social Platform members were presented, including the blended training “TRACK”, tailored to informal carers caring for people affected by dementia, in which Eurocarers has been involved. Among others, Inclusion Europe has been a parter of SafeSurfing.eu, a project that produced educational videos for both people with disabilities and their family members about managing risks and staying safe online. They also presented the project– “Able to Include” – which simplifies web information and services by converting text to picture and simplifies emails and Facebook. The International Federation of Social Workers Europe, together with Eurocarers, has been helping to develop evidence-based guidelines (“ENS4Care”) for nurses and social care workers using eHealth services. AGE Platform Europe has developed guidelines for older people to aid their access and understanding of online services, centered around four questions: ”Do I need it? Can I use it? Can I trust it? Can I afford it?”

Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights, was invited to explain why we should pay attention to the unintended consequences of technology. The University of Cambridge and Stanford University conducted a test proving that a computer can learn about an individual’s personality by analyzing data about the Facebook like buttons a person clicks on. Such knowledge can easily be misused, for example by targeting rich people and excluding those experiencing poverty. European Digital Rights welcomed the Social platform’s support on issues of shared interest to tackle inequality and social injustice in the area of access to digital services, such as their campaign against zero rating.

One key point echoed by several members was the importance of user involvement (also called design for all), inclusive design, and co-creation. The user, whether people with disabilities, older people or children, as well as informal carers, should always be involved in the design of online services.

For more information, see:  http://www.socialplatform.org/blog/digital-exclusion-the-unintended-consequences-of-technology/