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Scouts tackle digital exclusion in the UK

1. Ene 2009

UK Scouts are helping their country's so-called "digitally excluded" learn about computers and how to get online.

They have been trialling an Internet Buddy Guide designed to help anyone teach a technophobe how to use the Internet.

A recent report into understanding digital exclusion identified ‘the non-line outsider’ who wants to get online but is hampered by fear, uncertainty or structural barriers such as lack of tuition. The report underlined the value of ‘digital buddies’ – a friend or family member who can teach them how to use the Internet in one to one training sessions. So the UK Post Office has launched its new guide to help web users get a friend or relative online in a way both parties can enjoy.

Scout, Sally Milner, aged 14 and from London, who has tested the Internet Buddy Guide, said: “I would like to teach my Nan how to use the Internet so we can keep in touch on email. She doesn’t have a computer but it would be great if she had one and could use it. I would love to be able to send her a photo of me on holiday, and links to things I know she would like.

“I use the Internet all the time to stay in touch with my Scout friends and talk about the adventures we have and what we did at camp, but I forget that for some people it’s not that easy to remember the basics. I’m hoping this guide will help!”

Although the process can be fraught, investing time in helping digitally excluded relatives to get online is worthwhile and two thirds of those who did it found it a rewarding experience. The Post Office® Internet Buddy Guide uses bite size steps to structure tution and help bridge the gaps in understanding that cause the most frustration. In 30 minute sessions, those with no previous experience can learn how to send emails, browse the web or download files.

View a BBC News report of the Scout "digital buddies" in action here.

The Post Office® Internet Buddy Guide (6.4 MB PDF) can be downloaded from here.

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