Ofcom announces support for digital literacy programs

Communications regulator Ofcom has announced support for organisations across the UK aiding communities with digital literacy skills. 

A total of 13 organisations have been commissioned by the organisation as part of its ‘formal duty to promote media literacy’ and support vulnerable groups including older people, disabled people, children aged 10 to 14, and financially disadvantaged communities.

boy in red hoodie wearing black headphones

The regulator said in a post online: ‘Our new digital literacy programme working with organisation across the UK will help people live a safer life online, become informed digital decision-makers [and] keep connected.’ 

Some of the organisations involved include: The Guardian Foundation, which will work with youth organisations in Birmingham to deliver workshops about how to identify misinformation; Advice NI, which will use ‘digital champions’ to deliver a course for older adults on online services and avoiding scams; and ProMo-Cymru, which provides a range of services to local people including allowing ‘younger teenagers to learn from their older peers.’ 

Other organisations involved are: Praesidio and West Nottinghamshire College which will support local communities; Norfolk Libraries, Red Chair Highland and Age UK East London which are supporting older people; AbilityNet, The Brain Charity and Mencap Liverpool and Sefton which support disabled communities; and Royal Mencap Society NI and Salford Foundation which will support children and young people. 

In a tweet posted after the announcement, The Brain Charity said: ‘This is something which will make a big difference to some of our most vulnerable clients’ lives, ensuring they do not fall victim to scams and misinformation online and can use the digital sphere with confidence.’ 

Alongside educating people on digital literacy, Ofcom will also soon gain more powers to set codes of practice for companies to comply with the government’s controversial Online Safety Bill once it is passed, likely this year. 

The organisation is currently calling for evidence on protecting children from harmful content as well as the risks to children online and how they can be mitigated to inform the codes of practice which it says will be published with the first 100 days of the powers taking effect. 

Ofcom’s new powers will come into effect two months after the Online Safety Bill is passed. 

The commission for support around digital media literacy comes soon after a government report found that the public feels less safe online, with 45% of adults disagreeing with the statement that they feel safe from cyber-attacks, frauds and scams.

Photo by Compare Fibre


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