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Martha Lane Fox webchat 14 April

(60 Posts)
KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Apr-11 09:54:11

The UK's Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox, is our guest this Thurs morning. As Digital Champion, she's attempting to get the 9 million people in the UK who have never used the internet online and we're backing her Pass IT on campaign.

Martha co-founded Lastminute.com back in the early days of internet commerce, and has since co-founded Lucky Voice and Antigone. She's also a non-exec director at M&S, C4 and Mydeco.com.

If you've got a question about Pass IT On, or Martha's work generally, then please grab a coffee and join us at 10am on Thurs.

And if you'd like to be digital champ yourself, helping get friends and neighbours online, then there's more info here.

BecauseImWoeufIt Tue 12-Apr-11 17:17:41

Whilst I think it's a laudable aim to get everyone online, I think it's actually an impossible thing to achieve.

Quite apart from the financial issue of buying a computer (and all its peripherals) and paying for broadband, there's the problem of lack of knowledge, apathy and resistance which I know many people have.

My dad, who is 79 is very young at heart in many things - but as far as technology is concerned you can forget it. This is a man who has never used a cashpoint!

What on earth are you going to do about people like him? He sees absolutely no need to change how he goes about things and has zero interest in getting a computer or going online via any other method.

southeastastra Tue 12-Apr-11 17:22:32

my dad is 81 and uses the internet, just to look at pictures of mischa barton though

purplebrickroad Tue 12-Apr-11 20:12:33

Martha, some people on mumsnet talk about how seriously hard up they are. Sometimes these people are advised to get rid of their internet connection. When I read that, I think of you, and your efforts to get everyone online. The internet is a utility. I deal with people who are into the university of the third age. Thanks, Martha. You are gr8.

Crumblemum Tue 12-Apr-11 20:15:58

Hi Martha

Mine's a personal question - hope you don't mind. I know you had a horrible accident several years ago, but you actually seem to have achieved even more with your businesses and interests since the accident than you did before. How did you keep focussed during your recovery, and did people's attitudes to you change after your accident?

Hello Martha,

welcome to MN.

I see you are non-executive director of Marks and Spencer. Now, you likely do not have much to do with everyday M&S business, but can you have a word and get someone to sort out their ladies fashion? I am a loyal M&S customer and would love to buy more but the clothes are seriously awful at times. From boring to bizarre. I fancied a new dress this summer and there was not one dress that I liked. And why on earth do M&S not offer overseas shipping on food items? They would make a bomb. I live abroad and would love to be able to order tea bags etc with my Markies order.

fairtradefloozy Tue 12-Apr-11 21:51:37

HI Martha

What is the best tactic you have found to motivate those who are not users to get online?

I work with foster carers and government guidance has recently changed - the minimum standards for fostering now require foster carers to support children in their care to use PCs and learn how to stay safe online. This is great, but many of the foster carers I work with are not online and have no idea how to start, or to be honest, no inclination. Any top tips?

Want2bSupermum Tue 12-Apr-11 21:59:06

DH is in England this week and the bandwidth has been a major problem all week. He is in Manchester, about 10mins from the city center. For friends who live in rural areas, the access varies from poor to non existant so most do not bother. How do the government plan to improve bandwidth/coverage while maintaining affordability?

Gooseberrybushes Tue 12-Apr-11 23:34:07

I've always wondered if you ever felt a bit guilty about making all that money off people who instantly lost when lastminute shares crashed. Do you mind me asking this?

ExpatAgain Wed 13-Apr-11 12:57:35

Hi Martha

I live in Africa currently, though am from the UK. As you know, there's huge inequity here esp re access to pcs/internet at home or even in schools. Is online access in the developing world something you might get involved in later? Interested to hear your views anyway.

MarthaLaneFox Wed 13-Apr-11 15:48:40

Test

kittykitty Wed 13-Apr-11 16:02:47

Hi Martha - my dad is 79 and we're trying to get him to use a computer so we can Skype him (he lives in a different country). We're not sure whether it would be easier to get him an iPad or a PC, and have seen differing opinions on which would be a better beginners way to access the internet. Wd appreciate hearing your thoughts on this.

heliumballoons Wed 13-Apr-11 16:07:43

My Son is nearly 7 and starting juniors in September. A lot of schools use internet VLP nowadays and support their education using internet. I have considered buying him a netbook for internet and word only.

How can I get him online safely without policing is everymove?

PunkPixie Wed 13-Apr-11 21:01:35

My daughter is 4 and starts school in August, She's keen to learn but I find that most of the games I find aren't very educational or bore her. What are good letters and numbers rescources for her and our three year old son to get them started online?

madwomanintheattic Wed 13-Apr-11 21:05:35

dh's g'dad was set up with computer and internet at 90. grin he died last year, but one of my most abiding memories is that he always used to print out his e-mails to read them. the local computer shop who set it all up for him and provided ongoing assistance did so free of labour charges, as they were so thrilled that he was learning a new skill so late in life. they had a special flag on his file so that workers knew he was a very old chap before they came out to the house.

anyway, a small anecdote grin

martha, i wondered how you felt about the availability of porn online, and wondered whether (in your opinion) it will ever be possible to regulate?

seekinginspiration Thu 14-Apr-11 08:33:51

Hi Martha, my suggestion for getting more older people on line involves CRB checks. I think Age Concern could sponsor and take up references of IT technology people who can then go out to homes of older peoples and sort out that silly cable problem, or eradicate the spyware that prompts new learners to give up. The IT technology people would pay for their own CRB and making the service available through Age Concern would give the older people, and the families of older people, Confidence.

Many people would like their relatives to have web access but live too far away to help. Libraries just don’t have the money to employ enough staff to run courses and even if they do, the older person’s next step will be to get a lap top at home. On a weekly basis we have people coming into the library because of problems with their “home pc or internet connection”. At the moment there are static terminals they can use but with the future of small libraries looking very bleak it is highly likely that those who are not confident users already will have less access to the internet.

gazzalw Thu 14-Apr-11 08:58:04

Hi Martha,
we have friends who are not at all well-off (they get maximum tax credits) and they have a daughter who will be going to secondary school next year. We have told the Mum that we think there is some Govt initiative for all children to have access to a PC to help them with homework/ensure they are not disadvantaged. Could you advise further?
On the subject of older people and computers there has got to be a place for freecycling lots of discarded PCs that currently end up in landfill etc....and maybe have Council sponsored IT Labs where people can take them in etc...(or they can visit elderly people at home if there are mobility issues)

Alouiseg Thu 14-Apr-11 09:17:19

Hi Martha, I already live and breathe through the Internet and know my way round computers and related technology. I often look at "computer courses" to broaden my knowledge but it's difficult to know which to do. Have you any advice or recommendations for courses or qualifications?

RetroMaggie Thu 14-Apr-11 09:22:06

Hi Martha
Now that government grants to enable English care homes install simplified touch screen internet access has ended, how can companies like SimplyUnite convince care home owners it is worth the investment?
Is there anything in the pipeline to (financially) to encourage all UK (not just English) residential homes to make this leap?

SimplyUnite.com are proving the over 70s and 80s, even those with severe dementia, can learn to use and benefit from the net, email and skype.

Many thanks
Mags

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 09:38:01

testing

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Apr-11 10:00:25

Martha's at the Towers and about to get started...

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:00:43

Hello, it's great to be here. I just tweeted a photo of Mumsnet Towers if you want to see how cool they look

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:03:27

purplebrickroad

Martha, some people on mumsnet talk about how seriously hard up they are. Sometimes these people are advised to get rid of their internet connection. When I read that, I think of you, and your efforts to get everyone online. The internet is a utility. I deal with people who are into the university of the third age. Thanks, Martha. You are gr8.

Thank you for this. Everything we are trying to do with Race Online 2012 is aiming to make sure EVERYBODY is able to use the internet. I agree with you for the lowest income people in our country it's vital and we need to work really hard to make sure they are inspired and helped to get connected

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:07:20

fairtradefloozy

HI Martha

What is the best tactic you have found to motivate those who are not users to get online?

I work with foster carers and government guidance has recently changed - the minimum standards for fostering now require foster carers to support children in their care to use PCs and learn how to stay safe online. This is great, but many of the foster carers I work with are not online and have no idea how to start, or to be honest, no inclination. Any top tips?

I am a bear of small brain, I look at things very simply! I think that the most important thing to do when encouraging people online is to start with something you know they are interested in. e.g. if you like fishing, if you like gardening, if you want to get information for your kids. I think this is better than a government style course about how to turn on a computer and do a powerpoint presentation, that can come later. First of all you have to inspire people. In the next couple of months @raceonline_2012 will be working with the BBC to produce simple guides and tools for people. What you do as carers is vital to help please become one of our digital champions.

MaundyBra Thu 14-Apr-11 10:08:08

Hi Martha
I guess you're preaching the the converted here, although I was shocked to hear that there are 9m not connected. Is that households or people? For example, my dad in his 70s will use the PC but my mum is scared that she will break the computer and just gets him to google everything for her!

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