Whether it's booking a flight to go on holiday or ordering a takeaway, digital is so embedded in everyday life that it's easy to assume everyone is on a level playing field. And those who aren't are part of an older generation who didn't grow up with computers. But that's a dangerous assumption.
22% of the British population lack the digital skills they need for living day-to-day. That's more than two in ten people who struggle with signing their child up to school, filling in a tax return, or even using a smartphone to make a call. And as more and more essential services move online, falling behind the pace of change carries severe consequences.
For young people., the risks of being left behind are buried under the assumption that they are 'digital natives'. That they have supposedly grown up with the innate ability to use digital technology. But as the number of smartphone only households grows, millions of children are in danger of their digital world shrinking around a tiny touchscreen. Their confidence might be there, but what does the opportunity cost?
Dr. Josie Barnard investigates whether this is simply a question of affordability and motivation, or whether there are more complicated factors at play. She speaks to people struggling to find space at public computer banks to complete their Universal Credit forms, a group who are jumping hurdles to get online because of their severe dyslexia, and gets behind the screens of smartphone-only teenagers (with their consent) to find out how the kind of device, and the way we use it, can be just as detrimental as not having it at all.
Dr Josie Barnard considers
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4
Dr Josie Barnard investigates the deep social divides being created by the digital world.