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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.

Alouiseg Thu 14-Apr-11 18:10:05

Mine neither, I didn't ask where to look, I asked which course or qualification to do hmm

PunkPixie Thu 14-Apr-11 16:03:46

Mine neither. I guess since I have my internet connection and the kids are "technically" online then there is no advice for me as to how best to actually get them USING the internet.

ExpatAgain Thu 14-Apr-11 15:59:36

well, mine wasn't answered, hmmph..

madwomanintheattic Thu 14-Apr-11 15:25:34

oh, no, my mistake, one did get answered. grin

<not had coffee yet emoticon>

madwomanintheattic Thu 14-Apr-11 15:24:00

soooo, was that a deliberate avoidance of two questions about porn then? the downside of the internet? were we only allowed to run with how fab it is?

i didn't get that memo, sorry.

or did i miss it? <scrolls back to check again>

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 11:04:13

Sadly - even though @MumsnetTowers are feeding me chocolate - I have to go now. It's been great to talk to you, thank you for your very good questions. If I can leave you with one plea - I do really need your help - you all enjoy being online so much, please help those who aren't. Please become a Digital Champion - look at the www.raceonline2012.org website for further details and tools. These will be improving over the next couple of months.

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 11:01:20

paxtonsmedley

thanks for the answer I will look up abilitynet - can your digital champiuons help disabled people?

I know this is a bit like the questions about marks and speners dresses but since you have something to do with the government and david camerone what do you think anyone can do to stop the awful changes to disabilityliving allowance? many people are going to go from very bad to much worse and the internet is the last of their worries

what can we do?

Paxton

Yes absolutely - 100%! We are trying to make sure digital champions cover everyone, especially those that are the hardest to reach. Please let us know your ideas.

Unfortunately I have very little influence over David Cameron and I realise that the internet might seem like the last thing people should be worrying about but - those online save an average £260 per year - so I would argue it is even more important in the current climate.

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:56:36

kittykitty

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.

I know it is more expensive but the iPad is very simple, you turn it on, you bash about, you're online. I've bought an attachable keypad for mine, and sometimes use it more than my laptop.

RetroMaggie Thu 14-Apr-11 10:55:48

Whoops crossed posts blush.
Thanks for responding Martha!

RetroMaggie Thu 14-Apr-11 10:53:53

I suspect my question sounded a bit too commercial for the chat, sorry - for the record I don't own the company I mentioned! but I am incredible impressed with how well they engage people who've never used a computer because of age or ability. It is heartwarming and inspiring to hear what can be achieved and the positive affect it has, which makes it all the more frustrating that care homes (especially state funded ones) find it hard to prioritise the money to get residents online.
Keep up the good work Martha - from my personal experience (when my dad had a stroke), the net can help people who would otherwise feel isolated feel loved and supported - even when family are overseas.

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:52:45

RetroMaggie

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

@raceonline_2012 have been working with Finerday to work across care homes - with more homes being reached each day.

I absolutely agree that it is so important in helping people facing the challenges of mental health and old age especially when it can help reconnect them to their network of family and friends.

Finer day came about because they noticed that post had stopped coming through the door sad

paxtonsmedley Thu 14-Apr-11 10:52:38

thanks for the answer I will look up abilitynet - can your digital champiuons help disabled people?

I know this is a bit like the questions about marks and speners dresses but since you have something to do with the government and david camerone what do you think anyone can do to stop the awful changes to disabilityliving allowance? many people are going to go from very bad to much worse and the internet is the last of their worries

what can we do?

Paxton

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:49:10

Alouiseg

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?

I would advise looking at Open University, LearnDirect and DirectGov.

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:47:07

LindsayWagner

Hello Martha

Can I have a couple of questions?

Where do you stand on net neutrality (the possibility that we could end up with "two-tier" connections where some services are slower than others)?

And..

What do you think of the new .xxx domain for porn sites? Is it really going to have an impact on the exposure of children to pornography, and if not, what do you think is the best way forward?

Whoa serious questions smile I'm with Tim Berners Lee on net neutrality - I think it is fundamental to the philosophy of the internet. As for the porn domains I think they probably are helpful as it will allow parental control software to be even more effective.

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:44:25

MmeSurvivedLent

Are you on twitter, Martha?

Thanks for answering my question.

I absolutely love twitter I am @marthalanefox - I use it so much for advice, information, news, fun... Do you?

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:43:32

LindsayWagner

Ooh sorry three: what is your best strategic advice to anyone thinking of launching a startup in this economic climate? Are the opportunities still there?

It is tough right now but weirdly sometimes the toughest climates can offer interesting opportunities. There is money out there for great ideas but my main advice would be to just try to start your business and test the concept as cheaply as possible. You can do plenty on the web for very little money now.

Are you on twitter, Martha?

Thanks for answering my question.

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:40:53

JustineMumsnet

Incidentally, for all those with digitally savvy or not so savvy mums and dads, we are launching a new community site for grandparents - Gransnet - next month. We'll obviously keep you fully posted so you can encourage them to join in...

Great! Hope it goes really well smile

LindsayWagner Thu 14-Apr-11 10:40:19

Ooh sorry three: what is your best strategic advice to anyone thinking of launching a startup in this economic climate? Are the opportunities still there?

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:39:49

paxtonsmedley

Hi Martha

do you know how many of the 9millions want to get online but can't because of physical or sensory or learning disabilities?

I work with disabled people a lot and and always surprised how marginalised they are in so many ways, including the use of computers and the web.

There are lots of specially-designed tools to help them but it is rarely one-size-fits-all and they are not cheap.

Do you have information about this and what can you to help?

thanks

Paxton

This is really important - and for those people there is a massive benefit for being connected. AbilityNet are working with us to make sure we champion good solutions for people with disabilities or the people who look after them.

LindsayWagner Thu 14-Apr-11 10:37:38

Hello Martha

Can I have a couple of questions?

Where do you stand on net neutrality (the possibility that we could end up with "two-tier" connections where some services are slower than others)?

And..

What do you think of the new .xxx domain for porn sites? Is it really going to have an impact on the exposure of children to pornography, and if not, what do you think is the best way forward?

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:37:34

Katn

Do you have any tips for introducing people who are technophobes into using the internet and email in general? I'm thinking of my gran who had a hard time even using a mobile phone (and we gave her one of those ones with massive buttons and everything!)

We are talking to partners who are thinking about products specifically for older people who struggle with some of the hardware. You are right, it is daunting especially if you have never used any technology, i suggest you start with something you know your gran loves, maybe it's photos of you lot? maybe its BBC's iPlayer or maybe it's looking up her family tree online.

BUT PLEASE all Mumsnet users it would be fantastic if you could spread your tech skills to someone you know who can't get to use the internet. 9 out of 10 people not online know someone who is - so we are a big part of the solution.

paxtonsmedley Thu 14-Apr-11 10:35:56

Hi Martha

do you know how many of the 9millions want to get online but can't because of physical or sensory or learning disabilities?

I work with disabled people a lot and and always surprised how marginalised they are in so many ways, including the use of computers and the web.

There are lots of specially-designed tools to help them but it is rarely one-size-fits-all and they are not cheap.

Do you have information about this and what can you to help?

thanks

Paxton

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:33:01

Want2bSupermum

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?

I can't imagine how frustrating it is if you cannot get a good internet connection. I have a small idea as even though I live in the middle of London, for some unknown reason my wireless often cuts out! There are commitments from government to make sure everybody has 2Mb connection by 2015 and in addition some superfast broadband projects are underway - but I agree this needs to be more and faster, and everytime I meet Ministers I say so.

MarthaLaneFox Thu 14-Apr-11 10:30:05

BecauseImWoeufIt

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.

I don't agree it is an impossible task. I think it is hard but not impossible. We are working with 1100 partners to try and address the problems you mention. There are 3 big areas of work: we are creating a network of digital champions, people who will sit down individually with people like your dad and inspire them and help them to get online, we are creating cheap packages of product to make sure price is not an issue for anyone, and we are working closely with government to make sure they help too.

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