We are living in a digital age, yetover 1.7 million UK households are digitally disconnected, with a million more at risk due to the cost-of-living crisis.
While our research shows this mostly impacts those suffering from financial hardship, the issue is much wider. Refugees, asylum seekers, homeless people and young people are among those impacted by the digital divide.
Working with world-renowned photographer Rankin, the ‘Faces of Disconnection’ photo series shares seven real-life examples to help raise awareness of this ‘invisible’ social issue. In addition, it marks Vodafone UK reaching its goal to provide connectivity to one million digitally excluded people by the end of 2022.
Displaced, trapped, isolated
Being connected means we can stay in touch with loved ones, friends and colleagues, but it also gives us access to essential services such as healthcare and education. Without it, people can get left behind, no longer exposed to the same opportunities and knowledge. This has a mental implication, leading to feelings of isolation, loneliness and frustration.
Using the art of photography, we wanted to show the people affected by digital exclusion and help change perceptions.
“my abusive ex-partner smashed my phone and I wasn’t able to afford another, which put me and my kids at risk” – Meera
“I spend most of my time online, scrolling social media and Whatsapping friends but I never expected to be targeted by someone looking to hurt me” – Ava
“I was behind on my energy bills and felt the only way to pay them off was to cancel my broadband, sell my son’s phone and increase my mobile data, so that I could stay connected and he could do his homework” – Debbie
“My daughter will show me what to do, I’ll learn it once and then forget it. But everything is online these days – shopping, bills – and I prefer seeing and having things in front of me” – Igor
“I also struggle when using online services. There is so much information it overwhelms me. I don’t use TikTok or SnapChat because I just do not understand it and find it very daunting” – Lauren
“We were sheltered by a wonderful family, who I had to ask for help because my phone stopped working properly. This was a big stress for me as I was relying on it to help me translate documents and information as well as keep in touch with my father at home who is fighting in the war against Russia” – Ivan
“I’m doing some online courses so I can get into HGV driving and I’ve been given a grant for a laptop but I’m worried about the cost of broadband” - Paul
Getting everyone connected
As a technology communications company, we believe in the power of connectivity and digital services to improve lives and are working hard to connect more people and communities.
‘Faces of Disconnection’ marks Vodafone UK reaching the one million milestone in its everyone.connected campaign and, to celebrate, it is now extending its commitment to help a total of four million people cross the digital divide by 2025.
Working on a range of partnerships and initiatives, Vodafone’s everyone.connected campaign gives people the connectivity, technology and skills they need to stay connected and participate fully in an increasingly digital society.
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