Recommendations

In this section, we provide suggestions for:

  • policy makers in central government

  • local government and Iwi

  • Communications companies

  • Tech companies (including platforms)

  • Philanthropic and charitable organisations

Suggestions for policy makers in central government

Revisit the baseline for social inclusion and consider whether basic Internet in every home is today’s equivalent of last century’s landline with free local calls.

  • Ensure a decent standard of living for all families with children.

  • Build a high trust, high care environment for family support, and remove conditions of support that participants experience as shaming and describe as a ‘maze’.

  • Reduce transience in housing and reduce energy costs through healthier homes.

  • Ensure equitable support is provided to people with disabilities, irrespective of cause, and ensure all public services are accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Provide free wifi and devices to groups and communities facing economic and other barriers to digital inclusion (could be delivered via trusted community groups).

  • Make Internet safety a core part of the curriculum, including evidence-based programmes to help young people have difficult conversations with confidence and care.

  • Introduce evidence-based programmes that improve student’s ability to evaluate the credibility of online information.  

  • Invest in the availability of offline services for those who will not make the digital shift or fall through the gaps.

Suggestions for local government and iwi

  • Create, in partnership with communities and excluded groups, the type of safe, welcoming and free spaces people want and will use, where people can come together to access digital devices and services, and develop the skills, motivation and confidence to use them.

  • Extend free wifi to cover more spaces which are safe and easy for people to access and to use outside of business hours, including with children.

  • Ensure all public services are accessible to people with disabilities, and people who don’t have digital access - including those who choose not to use digital services.

Suggestions for communications companies

  • Design contracts that allow people to move easily between different plans, without penalty, in response to insecure work and changing income.

  • Make it easy for people to move their contracts and connections to new addresses without additional costs.

  • Provide affordable prepaid packages for mobile devices, which don’t charge people without a fixed address a higher rate for data.

  • Create ‘kid safe’ data plans, which limit access to pre-vetted child-safe sites.

  • Create custom mobile access portals specially designed to ensure that people in times of transition or heightened need can access ‘essential services’.

  • Where these services exist, work to increase awareness, accessibility and uptake.

Suggestions for tech companies (including platforms)

  • Proactively move towards more accessible, humane, safe and healthy design of software, digital platforms, content and services.

  • Design more kid-safe platforms and programs, to make it easier for parents to help their children access digital services and devices safely.

  • Take more responsibility for ensuring that the online platforms and spaces they create are safe, that harmful digital behaviours are discouraged and spaces moderated.

  • Take appropriate, timely action when cyberbullying, online harassment and other forms of harmful digital behaviour do happen in their spaces, to reduce future harm.

Suggestions for philanthropic and charitable organisations

  • Fund free wifi, devices and - where needed - training to groups and communities facing economic and other barriers to digital inclusion. This could be delivered via trusted community groups.

  • Fund the creation of custom-made mobile, digital access portals specially designed to ensure that people in times of transition or heightened need can access all ‘essential services’ including ways to communicate with their friends and family. By working with trusted community groups, this could be delivered in a way that avoids stigma and shame.

  • In partnership with excluded groups, fund safe, welcoming spaces where people can come together to access digital devices and services, and develop the skills, motivation and confidence to use them.