This mythological and unfounded line was even uttered by a guest speaker we invited to come and talk to our young people. He wasn’t invited back!
It’s lazy, patronising as well as inaccurate. This digital myth has been the subject of our Accelerator Programme with The Carnegie Trust, sadly coming to an end next month.
As many as 300,000 young people are digitally excluded. And whilst many may be on their phones some of the time, most usage relates to social media.
Why does this matter? Aside from the myth that as digital natives they must be expert users being harmful, if means they are missing out too. As the poverty premium goes, it’s needless to say that those with the least have most to lose by not being online.
For young people making the transition to independence, it’s not just shopping around, getting better deals, applying for jobs and Universal Credit that are ‘must-have’ activities.
It may be as simple as finding out what time the buses run from their village, downloading a payslip for the job centre to keep their claim active or setting up their Council Tax payments. Being digitally literate might even help them to find out what is going on locally and reduce isolation.
The world is ‘digital by default’ and humans are not. It is our aim to ensure the most vulnerable young people are more confident online as well as better skilled and with improved access.