Does more need to be done to help disabled people go online? header image

Published: 16th Oct 2014

One of the best things about the internet is that it allows people with limited mobility to stay in touch with the outside world in a way that simply wasn't possible in the past. 

The elderly and individuals with disabilities can keep in contact with friends and relatives, shop and access important services all through the power of the web. 

However, is enough being done to ensure disabled people are able to enjoy the benefits of going online?

Campaign group Disability Wales has expressed concerns that this may not be the case in Wales. 

According to government figures, around 40 per cent of disabled people in the country do not have access to the web, compared to only 12 per cent of individuals without disability - the organisation believes action is needed if this is to change.

Speaking to the BBC, Disability Wales chief executive Rhian Davies said there are three main barriers preventing disabled people from getting online - affordability, a lack of skills and training and individual impairment, which means many people need assistive technology like speech recognition software.

Ms Davies revealed 500 people have been helped to access the web through the organisation's Digital Lives project, but warned this is only the "tip of the iceberg", as around half a million people in Wales are disabled.

The need for these individuals to be able to enjoy the benefits of the web has also been discussed by Welsh communities minister Lesley Griffiths. 

"Arguably, disabled people have most to gain from digital technologies. It can help reduce isolation and enable independent living by giving disabled people the same choice and control over their lives as everyone else," she stated.

"I want to encourage partners to continue to work together to help more disabled people get online," the minister added.

Earlier this year, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed more than half of the Britons who have never been online have some form of disability.