The joy of digital inclusion

Last week, we went up to visit my ‘de facto’ in-laws. Although they’ve had a computer for a while, they’ve never had broadband so the wonders of the web were practically a mystery to them.

After much fannying around with Belkin USB adaptors, we managed to get the broadband connection working and, lo and behold, the internet was there.

We set up email accounts for them both and typed out some basic instructions for using it and other simple web behaviour.

We also downloaded Skype and set up an account and sorted out a basic webcam.

A week on and it has already been revolutionary, according to my girlfriend’s mum. Not only is she able to video call every day for 10-15 minutes and see our daughter, but our little girl gets a kick out of seeing her grandparents and their assorted animals.

On top of that, they’ve discovered the wonders of things like Amazon – the ability to buy obscure books at half the price and get them delivered for free, rather than trawl round half-a-dozen bookshops in the faint hope that they’ll be there.

OK, so they’re not about to code and launch their own website, but that’s not what digital inclusion is all about. It’s about opening up basic access to the internet and allowing everyone to enjoy the benefits.

Seeing someone discover this for the first time is a lot of fun!