Why is digital inclusion important?

This article is part of Digital inclusion

Not everyone is fully on board the digital train. For example, 39% of the Belgian population has only weak digital competences, and 7% never uses the internet. Projects and initiatives around digital inclusion can help avoid digital exclusion. A must, because the latter is a serious issue.

What happens when digital inclusion fails?

More and more services, both public and private ones, are moving to the digital realm. Sometimes partially, sometimes entirely. Those who experience digital hurdles can find it difficult to have high-quality access to certain services.

For example, not everyone is able to …

  • register their child for a summer camp
  • use online banking
  • use the city or municipality e-desk
  • consult a route planner
  • look up train or bus times on an app
  • google opening hours
  • use online translation tools

Digital exclusion can also cause or enhance other forms of exclusion, for example social exclusion or a lack of opportunities on the job market. That’s why digital inclusion is of the highest importance if we want everyone to be able to fully participate in society.

‘There is a general movement towards digitising everything, which is not easy for everyone. Reading and writing usually aren’t the issue, but understanding and applying information often are.’
LIGO Ghent

How to strive for digital inclusion

Now that we’ve answered the ‘why’, the next logical question is ‘how’. How can policymakers and organisations effectively facilitate digital inclusion? It’s important to know that digital inclusion depends on a number of factors. Access is not the only prerequisite: media literacy, motivation, and support from friends and family also play major roles in digital inequality.

Digital exclusion vs. the digital gap

For a long time, digital exclusion was defined as a chasm between people with and without access to digital tools. Discover why that idea is no longer accurate today.

Published on 21 February 2024