Caroline Jones Network moderatorBy Caroline Jones, Digital Unite Forum Moderator

With over 1,000 views every month, the Digital Champions Network Forum has become a valuable resource for our Champions across the UK.

A common admission from our Digital Champions is their fear of not knowing all the answers to questions posed by the people they are helping. But they don't have to know everything as they can dip into the Forum and get help from others.

Digital Champions Network community

As the moderator of our Forum on the Digital Champions Network, it's always interesting to see the range of topics that crop up, the technical hitches that are solved and the useful apps and websites that are shared. Below I share some of the recent hot topics discussed.

Hot topic 1 - Setting up an email account for your learner who doesn’t have mobile phone

How do you help a learner set up an email account when they don’t have a mobile phone which is used to verify the account? This scenario is more common that you might think, particularly when working in a Library! Some of our Champions recommend a disposable account like or a gmx account. They are easy to set up and don’t ask for reams of personal information such as a mobile phone number.

Hot topic 2 – Tethering – do what?

One Champion posed the scenario of a learner who wanted to watch tv on his laptop but didn’t want home broadband or a landline. The answer was tethering but with a caution that mobile data can be expensive and regular watching of TV via the phone could end up consuming a lot of data. Top tip, the learner should check their contract first.  And maybe google 'tethering'!

Hot topic 3 – Managing health online

Digital skills are becoming more important when managing health and wellbeing and the subject is a great learning hook for computer beginners. Amongst the great health and fitness apps, one Digital Champion uses Google Maps to help a learner get out again after losing her orientation. Another spoke of sugar level testing machines for diabetes sufferers that connect to a PC so they can send a graph of sugar readings to their GP online. There is also the use of Virtual Reality to help with Alzheimers disease. 

Hot topic 4 - Anti-virus software

‘I’ve put the right locks on the right doors, so to speak and now feel confident to use the internet without too much fear of a break in’.

It’s a simple analogy but it’s true and helping learners with online security is a frequent community discussion point. Windows Defender, Kaspersky, Norton, Avast and Malwarebytes all named by Champions as good solutions for anti-virus software.

Hot topic 5 - Stumbling across inappropriate content on a learner’s device.  Oops!

Saving the hottest to last, this topic caused quite a stir with many similar stories shared from seeing indecent photos on a mobile phone to pop ups from explicit websites during teaching sessions. A Digital Champion’s safety is the most paramount and having a good safeguarding approach will support both the Champion and a learner. Other top tips include encouraging the learner to lead the way and steer you away from anything they’d prefer you not to see. Search engines can also be set to 'safe' display to filter out adult content.

There's certainly never a dull moment being a Digital Champion!

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