Re-play of Digital Future: the New Underclass

Currently on BBC iPlayer is a re-play of Digital Future: the New Underclass from September 2019.

"Dr Josie Barnard investigates the deep social divides created by the digital world."

In an increasingly connected online world, this programme reminds us of the number of people unable to participate. It's not just the older generation who didn't grow up with computers - there are plenty of silver surfers out there - but even some 'digital natives' under thirty struggle with anything that isn't doable from a smartphone app.

So from filling in a tax return to submitting a CV with a job application, it's far from point-and-click for whole groups of people. Add those people with physical or learning disabilities, or simply no access to a device other than a smartphone (and some struggle even with those), and there's a real emerging underclass.

The programme estimates 22% of the British population lack the digital skills they need to get by day-to-day. It's a whistle-stop tour of issues that can barely scratch the surface in 28 minutes. That also limits the opportunity to explore solutions or create an action plan to help this diverse digital underclass.

Step one may be identifying the problem, step two needs active solutions.