Inequality and digital isolation


WHAT: A European study shows that the pandemic has increased the proportion of people living in digital isolation. Teleworking has created new forms of inclusion and exclusion in the labor market, where some groups have fared better than before and others worse. Digital isolation has three aspects – infrastructural access, digital competence and financial opportunities for participation. The study showed a positive relationship between socio-economic factors and digital isolation, which means that groups with lower incomes also have low digital skills. In addition, the perceived loneliness has increased during the pandemic, especially in the groups of young adults and the elderly, which studies show has serious consequences for public health.

SO WHAT: This means that an increase in income gaps in society means that an already vulnerable group of people end up in even greater vulnerability. Digital isolation also risks affecting the democratic development of a country, as the study shows that this double exclusion described also affects the next generation’s access to digital tools and knowledge. The report from Karolinska Institutet and from CES (Center for Epidemiology and Community Medicine) describes several measures that can reduce perceived loneliness, including by seeking out and creating contexts where more people can participate, which is also supported by the Solitude Revolution initiative.