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Something I’ve realised as the children have got older is that not only are they growing up in world with technology all around them but they are also far more aware of the wider world and the issues that people across the world face on a day to day basis compared to when I was growing up.
There are so many social issues that matter to young people across the UK today like protecting the environment, mental health, disability awareness and inclusivity, period poverty and homelessness. Children are so clued up on the problems in communities around them and it causes them to not just be concerned about those issues and find out more about them but also strive for change and solutions, working with the charities involved to give everyone a better quality of life. It’s so inspiring to see.
This year Plusnet have partnered with Scouts to run a digital camp at Scouts HQ in Essex where they challenged youngsters from Sheffield and London to come up with ways to make the world better through technology. During the camp they were able to earn their own limited edition Plusnet x Scouts badge.
The issues that the Scouts tackled with their chosen charities over the weekend were:
- Supporting refugees and displaced children with Save the Children
- Kindness in the community with British Red Cross
- Better mental health for all with Mind
- Protecting the environment with WWF
- Ending homelessness with Crisis
- Understanding disability with National Autistic Society
Working with The Raspberry Pi Foundation during the digital camp, Scouts created so many solutions to these issues. They included a digital diary which translates emotional words to emojis for people with autism and an app that tracks carbon footprints and rewards good decisions with points to get environment-friendly products.
Plusnet want as many people as possible to get involved in helping to tackle these issues and make change, so they have created a Hack at Home pack, showing how technology and the internet can help anyone to find solutions to these sorts of issues.
We were sent our very own Hack at Home pack to see how we could find solutions to issues that matter to LP and Little Man by using technology.
I speak to the children a lot about the media, current affairs and topics that matter in life today. They also learn a lot at school about the environment, disability, homelessness and so many other issues that affect them and the people around them on a day to day basis. So when we started looking at the Hack at Home pack the children had so many ideas of things that mattered to them and also things they would like to change.
We decided to focus our idea on something close to home that all families could replicate. The children said that if each family made a little change it would mean that they would add up to a really big change across the country – and I couldn’t help but agree with them! Making change doesn’t have to be something huge. It’s much easier for people to work together, making little changes that when combined have a huge impact.
With this in mind the children wanted to do something around Protecting the Environment with WWF. When looking at our own family life the first thing they thought of was reducing food waste. Along with that, the first thing that came to mind when we spoke about technology was an app. They are growing up in a world where there’s an app for everything so it’s makes sense to have an app to reduce food waste too.
Their idea was to use an app to plan meals – like we do manually at home already. The app would then give you a shopping list or could link to supermarkets online, letting you buy your groceries there and then. When you get the food home you would record the use by dates of products in the app and it would then work it’s magic.
The app could let you know what meals to eat on which days with the use by dates in mind. It could send you notifications when food was going out of date and it would give you an up to date record of the food in your fridge and cupboards at home. It could also give you ideas of how to use food before it’s past its best. All you’d need to do is tell it when you’ve eaten a certain meal and it would remove those ingredients from your kitchen within the app.
I was so impressed with how much thought the children put into this and it also opened up the conversation about reducing packaging by buying loose fruit and vegetables, only buying the ingredients and products we need and aiming to do just one food shop a week to save time and also reduce carbon emissions in the food deliveries. It sounds like an app that could really save people time and money whilst reducing food waste and helping the environment too.
We may not have actually created this app – yet! – But, LP and Little Man, with the help of Plusnet, have shown me that it really is possible to use digital technology to solve real-world challenges. I’m now wondering what else we could change for the better by using the technology we have available to us at home.
How do you think you could use digital technology to tackle the real-world issues that mean something to you and your family? There are so many causes close to people’s hearts and I’m sure we can all do our bit to find a solution too.
Visit the Plusnet newsroom to get your own Hack at Home pack and get involved. Make sure you share your hackathon ideas and projects by tagging Plusnet on social media.