TWO MPs from the Capital have called for efforts to boost online access after a landmark study found most Scots believe they would be better off if they knew how to get more from the internet.
Virgin Media surveyed 2000 people across Scotland and revealed 70 per cent of those taking part thought society would be better if people had in-depth knowledge of online tools.
Now Labour’s Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South, and the Liberal Democrats’ Mike Crockart, MP for Edinburgh West, have revealed they want to see internet activity boosted and that they are also keen to use it to increase access to politicians.
However, they said more needed to be done to protect kids from inappropriate content after the survey found only a small minority controlling what their children view.
Mr Murray said: “People can almost run their lives from a tablet these days and it is really important that politics modernises and encourages the digital era.
“I get around 700 e-mails on a daily basis, and you just would not have received 700 letters on constituency issues in the past – you would have been lucky if you got seven.”
The survey was carried out as part of Virgin Media’s Our Digital Future Campaign, which is exploring the impact of digital technology on everyday life.
Both Mr Murray and Mr Crockart said they were heartened by increasing numbers of constituents using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to contact them and express political views.
Mr Crockart said: “The ability for people to interact with government is absolutely vital in modern society and has played a major part in my No To Nuisance Calls campaign.
“I have over 1000 Twitter followers, a similar number of Facebook contacts and they have helped me get more than 17,500 signatures for the campaign.
“That in itself allows me to go to ministers to highlight the problems associated with nuisance calls.
“This ability to interact with politicians can make a big difference to all our lives, especially when a petitions site with over 100,000 signatures will guarantee a debate on a particular issue in Parliament.”
Mr Murray said: “We need to be careful about printing pieces of paper with our picture on it and sticking that through letterboxes, as people will think we are a throwback to the 1950s.
“Politics has to modernise alongside the developments in the digital era, and politicians need to embrace progress especially when it gets you that much closer to the people who have elected you into office.”
While both politicians hailed the ability of the internet to boost society and increase access to politics, fears were raised over risks to child welfare after Virgin’s survey revealed only ten per cent of respondents had taken steps to control what their families view online.
“The security element, especially around youngsters, is key to the effective use of new technology,” added Mr Murray.