Our Digital4Everyone sessions are a free one stop shop to get you and people in your local community online.
We work with our community partners and volunteer Digital Champions to support regular events in our neighbourhoods to introduce you to what's possible when you get online.
What's on offer?
If you need help with computing basics, learning to use the Microsoft Office packages, help with email or social media, or are looking for work online, our Digital4Everyone sessions can help.
There are events, sessions and courses on offer across our neighbourhoods.
If you can't find what you are looking for, just complete the form at the bottom of this page and we'll be in touch.
Computer events & courses
General digital help and guidance
The internet provides an incredible amount of knowledge, resources and entertainment available to anyone with an internet connection. It is possible to connect with people from around the globe, watch TV and videos, learn new skills and play games.
So how do we keep our children safe online?
For those with young children, there are filters that your Internet Service Provider can set on your network, these help to block access to content they deem as unsuitable. You can see more about these here.
If your child uses a mobile device with data, either Pay As You Go, or as part of a family contract you can add parental controls to their mobile, speak to your mobile service provider for information on what they can do to help.
The websites of device manufacturers (such as games consoles) should also outline the controls to which you have access. You can find out more here.
For more information about specific devices and what can be done to make your child’s device safe, you can also look at this site.
It is advisable for young children to be supervised whilst on the internet. Sit with your child as they use the net, talk to them about what they are doing and make it a shared experience. If you do come across something that you do not want your child to see or access explain to them why and as they grow older talk to them about the importance of online safety.
As children grow up and become more independent supervising their internet access is no longer a viable option. Children value their privacy and parents won’t want to spend hours watching Minecraft or cat videos.
Before we allow our children unsupervised internet access it is vital that we teach them how to protect themselves online. Open talks with them are important, so if they do see something they do not like or are unsure of, they talk to a parent or carer about it. As the internet is not a part of a lot of people’s lives these conversations can be had when discussing other things. For instance, if you are talking about school and their friends talk about online safety and how they communicate with others outside of school.
There are several key points that parents and carers need to raise about spending time online:
There is a lot of content on the internet that we would not think of as suitable for children, as they start to access things like social media and games they may come into contact with this. Devise a strategy with your child about what they should do when they come across this type of content, such as turning the screen off or talking to an adult. There is also content out there which is either completely untrue or written with a heavy bias, encourage your child to talk to you about the content they are accessing. Other content is shared illegally, such as films and some TV shows, so talk to them about the implications if viewing or sharing these.
It is important for children to know the people they communicate with online may not be who they claim to be. Once someone has been added as a friend to a social media account your child could be sharing personal information with them. Ensuring your child reviews friends lists and removing unwanted contacts on a regular basis is essential. Privacy settings will allow your child to limit the amount of information that is shared with others. Reinforce with your child the importance of telling a trusted adult straight away if someone is bullying them or making them feel uncomfortable, or if one of their friends is being bullied online. If you think your child has been contacted by someone inappropriately then this should be reported to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Everything we, and our children, do online leaves a digital footprint and this can be viewed by others. Whilst it is easy to feel anonymous online, as you are not talking to people face to face, what they post can cause harm to both themselves and others. It is vital we teach our children to keep their personal information safe from strangers. We also need to teach them to be responsible and respectful online and not to say things online they would not say to someone in person. Information, conversations and images can be copied and shared, potentially forever, so teach them to think twice before posting.
A lot of the content online is posted for commercial reasons, it is designed to make money. This means games and apps often have the ability to pay for new features or special items. Ensure your child is aware that these have a real-world cost, or even better do not have a bank account or card linked to their device or account. It can be useful to have a family email address for when the sign up for apps or fill in online forms. We also need to teach them how to vary of online scams such as phishing emails that try to get information from them. Ensure they speak to an adult before doing anything online they are not sure about.
Whilst a lot of this can seem daunting and even scary it is all a part of normal parenting, if you wouldn’t allow your 5-year-old to walk to the park to see friends alone, then don’t allow them to access the internet alone. I personally want my child to be online and get all of the benefits that it has to offer, including an awareness of technology and its uses in modern life. However, I do take steps to ensure my child is safe online.
The NSPCC has a guide about online safety for children and goes into more detail about the things shown above it can be found here.
Social isolation and loneliness are often described as the same thing, but they are not. People can feel lonely in a crowded room, it is a subjective experience. Social isolation is where a person has limited contacts with other people, either by choice or by circumstance. Both can feel painful and have a real impact on the individual concerned.
Socially isolated people are cut off from normal social networks. This can be triggered by factors such as a lack of mobility, unemployment, and both physical and mental health issues. This means people that suffer from social isolation can spend long periods of time at home and have no access to services or communities. They also have little or no communication with friends, family, and acquaintances.
Other contributing factors can include disabilities, lack of suitable transport solutions, domestic violence and financial problems. Some people may be physically capable of leaving their house but are limited by mental health issues, caring for a loved one or bereavement.
The elderly have a unique set of isolating circumstances, retirement can mean the end of daily contact with work colleagues, the death of close friends or spouses and absent or uninvolved relatives or children.
Any of these can lead to social isolation and loneliness, preventing people from forming and maintaining social networks.
How can digital skills help social isolation?
Digital communication cannot replace the face to face interactions that people want and a used to, but it can help improve someone’s social connectedness. Being online allows people to connect with their current friends, reconnect with old ones and hopefully find new friends with similar interests. Getting online used to be expensive, but as technology changes and moves forward it becomes cheaper. As well as free access to the internet in libraries there is free Wifi in cafes, restaurants and community centres around the county. A brand new smartphone can cost as little as £35 and this can open a whole new world of communication opportunities for new users.
The problem faced by many people is not having the digital skills needed to use these devices. A well-meaning friend or relative may give someone a phone, tablet or laptop, but not take the time to show them how to use it.
This where a volunteer Digital Champion can make a real difference to someone’s life. They tailor the training a person needs around what that person wants to be able to do. The pace is set by the client, not by a tutor as you would find in a classroom environment. Instead of trying to learn a whole lot of things they may never need or use they are taught how to do the things they want, from using Skype to chat to others, email so they can write to friends or relatives or use Facebook to reconnect with old friends, the focus is always on the customers needs.