Big Conversation Portsmouth: Lack of tech knowledge leaves people unable to adapt to life online during the pandemic

A TECHNOLOGICAL divide left some people unable to adapt to life online when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, new survey figures show.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 6:00 am
A man struggling to use a computer. Picture: Shutterstock
A man struggling to use a computer. Picture: Shutterstock

A total of 85.44 per cent of the 1,043 people who completed The News’ post-lockdown survey, The Big Conversation, said they adapted well to doing things online as lockdown kicked in.

But 12.64 per cent said they didn’t, with the majority saying they struggled because they had no-one to turn to for help or advice.

It is believed online shopping, general admin and the setting up of messaging services and video calls are just three of things they struggled with.

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Steve Bonner, chairman of Portsmouth Pensioners Association. Picture: Sarah Standing (210619-1378)

Steve Bonner, chairman of The Pompey Pensioners, said ‘about 70 per cent’ of the association’s paid-up members are computer savvy.

But others, he warned, are ‘frightened’ of the hardware and have relied on phones to keep in touch with the volunteers and committee members who have supported them during the pandemic.

He said: ‘We have been phoning around on a friendly basis to make sure people are ok, and they seem well.

‘Family members or friends have been helping to get shopping and other things in for them.

East Cosham House Care Home's registered manager David Fuller, a former lord mayor, with a Portsmouth care home resident in March. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

‘The response has certainly been resilient.’

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Amid concerns a second wave of Covid-19 could potentially affect Portsmouth, Steve said the video-calling application Zoom is becoming a ‘crucial’ part of the association’s committee operations.

Technology also played a role in keeping care home residents connected with family members who were previously banned from visiting them because of lockdown.

East Cosham House Care Home was gifted two laptops so residents could make video calls to their loved ones.

Registered manager David Fuller, who is also a city councillor for Fratton and a former Portsmouth lord mayor, said: ‘The laptops have gone down really well.

‘Our home looks after people with dementia and it was really difficult to explain coronavirus and why residents couldn’t see their families.

‘Being able to get staff to connect them over the internet was really useful.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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