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Good Things Foundation sets minimum digital living standard for families

Mother with children with laptop
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Digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation has published a minimum digital living standard for households with children.

It said the move follows its research, including a survey of over 1,500 households, into family needs and barriers to obtaining them.

The standard includes home broadband with sufficient reliability and speed for all family members to use it at the same time, every parent and secondary school child to have a mobile phone with at least 5GB of data per month, and either a laptop, tablet or PC per household.

There are also needs for a set of headphones for school age children, a smart TV with 32-inch scheme and some access to online gaming.

These have to be accompanied by a range of skills in areas such as using device functions, apps and programmes, running an email account, managing online bookings and payments, and managing online security.

Key findings

The charity has published a report on its research from which the key findings were: digital access is now essential for family life; poverty is a barrier to meeting the standard; over four in 10 households with children, or 3.7 million, are below it; and one in four families do not have parents with the skills to understand how to preserve digital safety.

Good Things has also called on the Government to make digital inclusion a priority, help more families afford suitable connectivity and devices, support schools and community groups in digital inclusion efforts, and work with the charity on strengthening the National Digital Inclusion Network.

Dr Emma Stone, director of evidence and engagement at Good Things and co-investigator of the project, said: “For the first time we have a benchmark, defined by the public, about what families thing is enough to feel included in our digital society today. It tells us what families need to know, do and be able to afford.

“The fact that over four in 10 households are below the minimum digital living standard has profound implications for families and society. Politicians need to heed this and act.

“This is about poverty and opportunity. It is about fixing the digital divide.”

The standard has been developed in a collaboration with the University of Liverpool, Loughborough University and others, and with funding from the Nuffield Foundation, Nominet and the Welsh Government.

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