Emma Willis has teamed up with Vodafone to bring to life the realities of the digital divide in a new YouTube mini docu-series entitled 'Disconnected'.
In the first episode of the series, launched earlier this week, Emma explores some of the simple day-to-day tasks that are quick to perform when online, but become time-consuming challenges without any connection to the internet, apps or social media.
The series was created as part of Vodafone's ongoing everyone.connected campaign, which aims to close the digital divide by donating connectivity, skills and devices to the 1.7 million people and businesses across the UK that are living in digital exclusion.
Disconnected comes hot on the heels of new research from Vodafone that delves into the importance of connectivity and the skills required to maximise being online, revealing that being connected is more important than other everyday essentials for Brits. 38% say being connected is important, compared to exercising (29%) and socialising (25%).
Those surveyed state they now complete 90 personal and work tasks online every day, up 10% on a year ago and 11% on pre-pandemic levels. In fact, the research showed that Brits send 270 text messages, make 180 phone calls, and arrange 150 appointments online every month.
Those surveyed also highlighted the key benefits of being connected, indicating that it improves their:
- Financial management (57%)
- Ability to conduct daily tasks e.g. booking appointments (54%)
- Social connections (46%)
- Job or education opportunities (30%)
- Health and fitness (25%)
Keeping in touch with friends and family proves important for Brits, as almost four in 10 (39%) use their phone to do so up to three times a day, and 34 per cent cite this as their biggest struggle if they were to find themselves without internet connection. Other predicted struggles include not being able to shop online (34%), manage finances (31%) or maintain work expectations (21%).
Of those surveyed who had experienced being without connectivity, 41% reported feeling stressed and 31% isolated.
With so many day-to-day tasks being simpler, quicker and more cost effective to do online, the research showed that those facing digital exclusion could spend additional hours a day completing tasks such as banking (1.5 hours), booking appointments (1 hour) and paying household bills (1.2 hours). Something Emma found when looking into the impacts of digital exclusion on daily life.
Docu-series presenter, Emma Willis, said:
"Alongside Vodafone, we wanted to get under the skin of the issue and better understand, in just a small way, what life is like for those who are digitally excluded…We've barely scratched the surface of the digital divide in this series, but we've seen and heard first hand from people, how important connection is to everyday life and why it's imperative to close the gap between those with and without connectivity, skills or devices."
Nicki Lyons, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Office at Vodafone UK said:
"We believe everyone should benefit from digital connectivity and tackling digital exclusion sits at the heart of our business… I'm proud of what our everyone.connected initiative has already achieved and the continuing work we are doing in this space to ensure no one gets left behind as society becomes increasingly digital-first."
In episodes two and three of the series, Emma meets some of those affected by the digital divide as well as some of the charities working with Vodafone to help improve digital exclusion, including Good Things Foundation, the Trussell Trust, Independent Age and LandAid.
Vodafone's everyone.connected campaign has pledged to help four million people and businesses cross the digital divide by the end of 2025. By viewing and sharing this three-part documentary, you can help increase awareness and end digital exclusion. Head to YouTube to view the mini-docu series and find out more about everyone.connected here.
As part of the proposed merger with Three UK, Vodafone has committed to retaining all current measures to support vulnerable customers impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, including social tariffs and digital inclusion campaigns.
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