IFB Gaming


Category Digital Inclusion

Bridging the Digital Divide: Exploring Data Poverty and Its Impact

Data poverty refers to the lack of access to adequate data connectivity, digital devices, and digital literacy skills needed to fully participate in the digital world. It encompasses various dimensions of inequality and exclusion related to access to and use of digital technologies.

People experiencing data poverty may face barriers to accessing essential online services, educational resources, job opportunities, healthcare information, and social connections. Data poverty can exacerbate existing inequalities and limit individuals’ ability to fully benefit from digital technologies for personal, social, and economic development.

Data Poverty is a Facet of Digital Inclusion

Hannah Whelan (Good Things Foundation)

Data Poverty is often closely linked to broader issues of digital inclusion and the digital divide, highlighting the need for efforts to address disparities in access to digital resources and opportunities.

The impact of data poverty is profound and multifaceted, affecting individuals, communities, and societies in various ways:

  1. Limited Access to Information and Opportunities: Data poverty restricts access to vital information, resources, and opportunities available online. Individuals experiencing data poverty may struggle to access educational materials, job listings, healthcare services, and government resources, limiting their ability to make informed decisions and participate fully in economic, social, and civic life.
  2. Economic Disadvantage: Data poverty perpetuates economic disparities by hindering access to online job opportunities, e-commerce platforms, and digital financial services. Without access to digital tools and resources, individuals may face barriers to entrepreneurship, remote work, and financial inclusion, further widening the gap between the digitally empowered and the digitally excluded.
  3. Educational Inequality: Data poverty exacerbates educational inequalities by limiting access to online learning resources, virtual classrooms, and educational platforms. Students without reliable internet connectivity or digital devices may struggle to complete homework assignments, access course materials, or participate in distance learning programs, perpetuating the cycle of educational disadvantage.
  4. Healthcare Disparities: In the digital age, access to healthcare information, telemedicine services, and digital health tools is crucial for promoting health and well-being. Data poverty can exacerbate healthcare disparities by limiting access to online health resources, telehealth consultations, and digital health monitoring devices, particularly in underserved and remote communities.
  5. Social Isolation and Exclusion: Data poverty can contribute to social isolation and exclusion by limiting access to social networking platforms, virtual communities, and online communication tools. Individuals without internet connectivity or digital literacy skills may struggle to stay connected with family and friends, participate in social activities, or access support networks, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  6. Digital Rights and Citizenship: Data poverty undermines digital rights and citizenship by limiting individuals’ ability to exercise their rights online, such as freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy protection. Without access to digital tools and resources, individuals may be disenfranchised from participating in digital democracy, engaging in online activism, or advocating for their rights in digital spaces.

Tackling data poverty is important for several reasons:

  1. Promoting Digital Inclusion: Access to digital connectivity, devices, literacy and skills are essential for full participation in the digital economy and society. By addressing data poverty, you can promote digital inclusion and ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to access and benefit from digital technologies.
  2. Reducing Inequality: Data poverty disproportionately affects marginalised and disadvantaged groups, exacerbating existing inequalities. By closing the gap in access to digital resources, we can reduce socio-economic disparities and promote greater equity in access to education, healthcare, employment, and other essential services.
  3. Fostering Economic Development: Access to digital technologies is increasingly important for economic participation and growth. By empowering individuals and communities with digital skills and resources, we can unlock new economic opportunities, stimulate innovation, and drive economic development.
  4. Improving Education and Lifelong Learning: Digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise education and lifelong learning by providing access to online resources, courses, and educational tools. Tackling data poverty ensures that learners of all ages have access to quality educational resources and opportunities for skill development.
  5. Enhancing Healthcare Access and Well-being: Digital technologies can improve access to healthcare information, telemedicine services, and health monitoring tools, particularly in remote and underserved areas. By addressing data poverty, you can enhance healthcare access and promote better health outcomes for individuals and communities.
  6. Facilitating Social Connections and Community Engagement: Digital connectivity enables individuals to connect with others, participate in social networks, and engage in community activities. By tackling data poverty, you can strengthen social connections, foster community engagement, and reduce social isolation, particularly among seniors and vulnerable and marginalised populations.
  7. Empowering Individuals and Communities: Access to digital technologies empowers individuals and communities to access information, express themselves, advocate for their rights, and participate in decision-making processes. By addressing data poverty, you can empower people to exercise their digital rights and participate more fully in democratic processes.

The impact of data poverty is far-reaching and intersects with various dimensions of inequality and exclusion. Addressing data poverty requires comprehensive strategies aimed at improving digital infrastructure, promoting digital literacy, and ensuring equitable access to digital resources and opportunities for all individuals and communities.

By tackling data poverty, we can build a more inclusive and equitable digital society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Tackling data poverty is essential for building inclusive and equitable societies, promoting economic development, and harnessing the transformative potential of digital technologies for the benefit of all.

Our work is featured in Community Southwark’s case studies

IFB’s been shortlisted for a Business Excellence Award (2023) in London

Levelling Up Community Engagement: Embracing Gamification for Vibrant Development

Gamification is the application of game elements and principles to non-game contexts, often with the goal of increasing engagement, motivation, and participation. It involves integrating features commonly found in games, such as points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, and rewards, into various activities and systems, like education, business, marketing, and more.

The aim is to make these activities more enjoyable and to encourage desired behaviours, such as learning, productivity, or customer loyalty, by leveraging the psychological aspects of gaming, such as competition, achievement, and a sense of accomplishment. Gamification can be a powerful tool for enhancing user engagement and motivation in a wide range of applications.

One of the profound debates around gamification is its practicality for real-world community development. In our just completed Get Online Week‘s: Inspiring Minds! Empowering Futures!, we transformed a South London community into GTA. So, yes, gamification can be used effectively in real-world contexts and for community development. Here’s how:

  1. Community Engagement: Gamification can encourage community members to actively participate in events, initiatives, and projects. It can turn tasks like volunteering, attending meetings, or contributing to community clean-up efforts into engaging and competitive activities.
  2. Education and Skill Development: In community development, there is often a need for educational programs. During Get Online Week, we used a dedicated educational App called Learn My Way. Gamification can be used to create interactive and enjoyable learning experiences, promoting skill development and knowledge sharing within the community.
  3. Culture and Behaviour Change: Gamification can be applied to change or create cultures and encourage positive behaviours within a community, such as recycling, conserving energy, trying one thing online, or adopting healthy lifestyles. It can use rewards, challenges, and competitions to motivate individuals to make a positive impact.
  4. Community Building: Games and challenges can bring people together, fostering a sense of community and belonging. For example, a community scavenger hunt can encourage residents to explore their neighbourhoods and interact with each other.
  5. Data Collection: Gamified apps or platforms can be used to collect valuable data and feedback from community members. For instance, a mobile app could encourage residents to report issues like potholes or graffiti while earning points or rewards.
  6. Advocacy and Awareness: Gamification can be utilized to raise awareness and advocate for important community issues. Interactive campaigns can educate people about local problems and motivate them to take action.
  7. Community Improvement Projects: Community projects, such as park beautification or mural painting, can incorporate gamified elements to make the work more enjoyable and to track progress and achievements.
  8. Volunteer Management: Gamification can help manage and recognize volunteers. Volunteer leaders can use gamified systems to track contributions, offer rewards, and foster a sense of accomplishment.

By integrating gamification into community development, you can make the process more engaging, inclusive, and effective. It has the potential to inspire participation, boost motivation, and ultimately lead to more successful and sustainable community initiatives.

At IFB Gaming, we firmly advocate that gamification holds great potential for community development and we are delighted to spearhead its adoption in this growing field. Community development initiatives frequently necessitate educational programs, and during Get Online Week, we successfully harnessed the power of a dedicated educational app called Learn My Way.

Through gamification, we endeavour to craft engaging and enjoyable learning experiences that foster skill development and facilitate the sharing of knowledge within the community. This approach promises to enhance the educational and interactive aspects of community development efforts, making them more impactful and enjoyable for all involved.

Register for Get Online Week 2023’s Empowering Futures’

Get Online Week is back. It runs annually during Black History Month and it is currently on its 16th edition.

Why is Get Online Week important?

Nearly 1 in 5 adults lack the most basic digital skills needed for everyday life.

Over 1 in 20 households have no internet access, neither fixed line nor mobile.

2 million households struggle with affordability of internet access.


What to expect this Get Online Week 2023

Free technology, computer and internet support for beginners.

Get support from IFB, BTB CIC and the NHS to access and understand essential digital services.

Whether you are a beginner, looking for educational resources or you are just struggling with a specific function, there will be a variety of departments based on our 6-Pillars of Digital Inclusion on the ground to support you.

You may also like to join us soon for more free events below:

Supporting Seniors to take back control of their healthcare by mastering the new NHS appointment booking process.

One of our primary objectives this year is to support Seniors and Elderly People with the new NHS appointment booking process, especially blood tests. If you know anyone that’s can benefit from this event, kindly bring them along or share with them. The NHS User Research team will be available during GOW to support them with any issues or problems that they may be experiencing.

Get Online Week 2023: Inspiring Minds. Empowering Futures.

A free 3-day free website development workshop at Rachel Leigh Hall. This event is free, however, registration is required. Please learn more with the link below.

The three days workshop will focus on:

  1. HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language
  2. CSS – Cascading Style Sheets
  3. Design thinking and ethics
  4. Drag ‘N’ Drop

Digital Living: Free bicycle marking by the Metropolitan Police.

Crime is on the rise again in London. This is true about mobile phones and bicycles on Southwark’s Brandon Estate. This Get Online Week, we are teaming up with the Police to mitigate these categories by offering bicycle tracking devices to individuals.

IFB Accessibility Services

IFB Gaming Joins Future Dot Now Coalition

Our commitment is to elevate digital inclusion and eradicate data poverty and we recognise that this endeavour requires a collective effort beyond any single expert, organisation, government, or community. Hence, we are proud to announce that we are now an active member of the Future Dot Now coalition and will align our tangible and intangible resources and objectives with the alliance to eradicate digital inclusion and data poverty from the UK.

The pandemic has underscored the urgency of our mission, signalling that traditional methods may no longer suffice during technology adoption maturity and beyond.

Future Dot Now is a coalition of forward-thinking organisations dedicated to enhancing essential digital skills in the UK’s workforce. The coalition is spearheaded by Liz Williams MBE who is also the Founder and Chief Executive of Future Dot Now. There are currently 133 members in the coalition, including esteemed organisations such as Good Things Foundation, IBM, Microsoft, Lloyds Banking Group, DWP, Nationwide Building Society, and PwC.

We are honoured to be a part of this dynamic coalition.

EDS Framework by Future Dot Now
Essential Digital Skills Framework (Credit: Future Dot Now)

Fostering a digitally-enabled culture is pivotal to our nation’s success. As members of the Future Dot Now coalition, we aim to contribute valuable insights while benefiting from the expertise of other esteemed organisations within the coalition.

(Future Dot Now)

About IFB Gaming

IFB, an acronym for International Friends Bureau, is a hybrid bridge and connector research and learning organisation focused on the intersection of play, lifelong learning and digital exclusion.

What Membership in the Coalition Means to IFB Gaming

Given our unique positioning as a bridge research and learning organisation researching in English communities, affiliation with the coalition aligns with our mission in several ways:

  1. Support from Digital Inclusion Leaders: We anticipate garnering support from prominent individuals and organisations actively engaged in digital inclusion initiatives in England and Wales.
  2. Knowledge Exchange: Participating in the coalition allows us to share our insights and gain fresh perspectives and expertise specifically tailored to digital inclusion.
  3. Advocating Gamification: We intend to advocate for the benefits of gamification and emerging trends within the coalition.
  4. Awareness Initiatives: We aim to create awareness programs highlighting the myriad applications available to Third Sector organisations and community groups.
  5. Strategic Partnerships: Collaborative efforts within the coalition will contribute to strengthening the UK’s position through strategic partnerships within the Commonwealth.
  6. Promotion of Digital Skills Framework: We are committed to promoting the Essential Digital Skills Framework within BAME communities, starting from the grassroots level.
  7. Community Engagement: We will facilitate volunteering opportunities within the community and offer free or affordable workplace digital training and products to coalition members.

The Essential Digital Skills (EDS) Framework, outlined above, delineates five key skills and provides examples of tasks that individuals should master to demonstrate competence in each skill. Notably, the fifth skill—being safe, legal, and confident online—is interwoven across the other four.

The pandemic has accentuated existing gaps and exposed new challenges. It is evident that while there are numerous efforts underway in UK communities aimed at fostering a prosperous, connected, equitable, and sustainable digital economy, much of this work operates in isolation, often lacking proper documentation and alignment with systemic structures.

We firmly believe that a robust, comprehensive, and cyclical strategy is now imperative, one that is firmly grounded in strategic partnerships and driven from the grassroots and the policy (bottom-up-top-down), with a focus on empowering individuals and communities.

According to the City of London News Room, the UK is leading the digital revolution, with technology, media, and creative businesses outpacing the broader economy in terms of growth. Nevertheless, the rapid pace of change is leaving a significant portion of our population behind:

  • 53% of UK employees lack the essential digital skills necessary for the workplace.
  • 4.1 million adults in the UK remain ‘offline,’ with 75% indicating no motivation to change.
  • 11.3 million UK adults still lack the fundamental skills needed to access the internet, communicate effectively, and solve problems online.

The Future Dot Now coalition has made the following commitments, and we encourage other organisations to join us in this endeavour. Only through collective action can we develop fluid, interconnected, and sustainable solutions that are equal to the tasks and challenges that lie ahead.

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