This is the double punishment for 13 million French people isolated from digital and physically confined. The health crisis reveals the importance of the virtual world and the delay taken by France in the digital accompaniment of the most precarious. There is an urgent need to close this gap!
Internet vector of exclusion during confinement
Thanks to the Internet “We keep in touch”: this little sentence is now possible almost instantaneously, even at a great distance. But what does it mean to keep in touch or stay in touch for people who don’t know the basics of the Internet? How can we break the isolation of the elderly when visits have been banned in the Ehpad and the over-70s are being asked to remain confined to their homes? While the ban on visits is necessary in terms of public health, it is very difficult on a human and psychological level. We also know that isolation is also a major risk factor for health degradation. It is therefore important to find remedies for digital isolation in our society, as have many Ehpads who have taken steps to make up for the lack of visits to residents. Some institutions hold Skype and WhatsApp video conferences with families, while others consider purchasing individual digital tablets so that everyone can access movies or photos. These initiatives should be widespread.
Digital precariousness and social insecurity too often go hand in hand
Telemedicine, telecommuting and e-commerce are already the big winners of the coronavirus crisis but not all families are equal to the Internet. People without a computer with a camera or a smartphone, uncomfortable with the technique or in a white area, cannot benefit from the potential of the Internet. It is thus the families most in difficulty who will pay the heaviest price of the health and social crisis.
Similarly, in companies, telework is not improvised and many employees are left to their own devices for lack of sufficient support. The working conditions of some students are also made difficult by difficult access to the Internet, the absence of computer tools at home or a low throughput for courses such as videoconferencing or audioconferencing. Finally, while telemedicine could be particularly of service to the elderly, who often suffer from multiple pathologies, they are also the ones who use it the least. According to a recent study by the Little Brothers of the Poor, 27% of people aged 60 and over never use the Internet.
Call for solutions for the most remote from digital!
In the health context of COVID19, initiatives related to the reduction of the digital divide must be supported urgently. While administrative procedures can only be done online, the government has urgently launched a website and a telephone number (01 70 772 372) for those who are struggling with digital. These late initiatives highlight the limits of the democratization of teleservices, which is primarily due to a lack of training, equipment and support for those most in difficulty.
The association France Connected calls for a major national training plan for new technologies and conferences for older and digital families so that they can accompany their children, equip, exchange and take advantage of all the potential that the Internet offers. Rather than broadcasting the weather on all channels, could we not broadcast educational and educational programs to learn how to use a computer or a smartphone? Learn how to use social networks, search the Internet, find a solution to an online problem… those are skills to be transmitted as essential as knowing how to read, write and count. Once this basic knowledge is guaranteed, going further into the digital world should no longer be an obstacle.