The City of Helsinki offers free digital support at more than 150 locations. Digital support helps with the use of desktop/laptop computers, tablet computers and smartphones. Guidance on using e-services is also available. In addition to providing support, digital support experts encourage people to try new things, find inspiration and independently improve their digital skills.
Digital support is also available remotely. In addition, the City of Helsinki cooperates with HelsinkiMissio and the Helsingin Invalidien Yhdistys ry disability association, whose volunteers help people with digital problems in their own homes.
Digital support is intended for all city residents who need support in everyday digital issues. Support is available in many different languages.
– People who have sought digital support have more courage to use their digital devices and are often motivated to learn new digital skills independently, says Ari Tammi, a specialist at the Helsinki City Executive Office.
Digital support is provided wherever people are
In Helsinki, digital support is provided in libraries, resident centres, service centres, youth centres and adult education centres. The service is available with or without an appointment.
Approximately 180 city employees provide digital support. In addition, volunteers and representatives of the city’s partner organisations, such as Enter ry, participate in digital support at many of the city’s locations. Digital support is also provided by Helsinki-info advisers at Oodi Central Library and other advisory service points.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, digital support was provided at libraries for a total of 68,000 hours in 200,000 advisory sessions. There were also 5,000 advisory sessions in resident centres, 3,800 in service centres and 2,000 in adult education centres.
Most digital support focuses on the use of smartphones. Smartphones account for 52%, desktop/laptop computers for 37% and tablet computers for 8% of the digital support provided. Some support is also given on the use of basic mobile phones.
Remote digital support is here to stay
Helsinki started offering remote digital support on a large scale in April 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic closed the city’s conventional digital support locations. Remote digital support has been found useful by city residents and will continue to be offered even after the pandemic. Support can be requested at digituki.hel.fi or by calling Helsinki-info on 09 310 11 111.
– In digital support, I have most often been asked for help downloading, editing and uploading files. For example, I explain how to transfer photos from a phone to a computer or how to attach a CV to a job application, says Erik Voyushin, a digital support project worker at the City of Helsinki.
The City of Helsinki wants everyone in the city to be aware of the free digital support available, so digital support will be made visible through various channels on 16–22 May 2022.
Research publication, Digitalisaation huipulla – ja reunalla: Verkkopalvelujen käyttö ja digisyrjäytyminen Helsingissä ja Suomessa (“At the top of digitalisation – and on its edges: Use of online services and digital exclusion in Helsinki and Finland”).
Foto: Mikko Hakola, City of Helsinki.