Barclays digital expertise on hand as family members feel ill equipped to solve tech issues

28 May 2014 13:00 GMT

  • Bank rolls out army of 7,000 ‘Digital Eagles’ available for all across the UK
  • Over 11 million Brits argue with family because of a lack of digital know-how
  • Over two in five Brits don’t feel qualified to answer tech questions they receive from family members

Launching today, a newly expanded group of 7,000 Barclays ‘Digital Eagles’ are on a mission to solve the nation’s IT problems and boost Britain’s digital confidence. This fully-trained group of employees are on hand across the UK ready to provide free technology advice to both customers and non-customers.

New research released today from Barclays reveals that over 11 million[i] Britons are currently experiencing family arguments because of a lack of digital know-how, underscoring the need for more IT help for UK families.

The findings show that over a third (34 per cent) of the UK population regularly ask members of their family to help with IT queries and problems, despite more than two in five (41 per cent) admitting they don’t feel qualified to help out.

The main reasons respondents gave behind these disputes are that they simply don’t know the answers to the questions (42 per cent) and get frustrated explaining the instructions in a concise way (47 per cent). Brits also become impatient because family members are not picking up the information quickly enough (35 per cent) and get annoyed because they have to repeat the solution several times (26 per cent).

Nearly one in three (29 per cent) Britons help relatives use modern technology at least twice a week.

When it comes to who in the family we are relying on for digital advice, parents across the UK are counting on their children to be their primary ‘digital carer’, with the research showing that nearly one in four (24 per cent) technology queries are landing in the laps of their offspring. This trend clearly increases with age shown by the over 55s going straight to their kids to ask for help over half of the time (55 per cent).

Surprisingly, this relationship also works the other way with over a third (34 per cent) of younger generations[ii] having enough confidence in their parents’ digital know-how to ask them to solve their tech issues in the first instance.

With this in mind, Barclays is on a mission to limit digital arguments with their group of ‘Digital Eagles’ who are on hand across the UK, actively encouraging and educating families to acquire digital skills, so they feel confident to use modern technology to enhance their daily lives. Whether that’s using Skype or Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends, watching a movie on Netflix, setting up a twitter profile or understanding how they can use the latest technology to manage their money, they are on hand to help.

Steven Roberts, Strategic Transformation Director at Barclays and Pioneer of the Digital Eagles, said: “We have listened to families in the UK and understand the challenges faced across the generations. There is no denying it, the world is changing and for some this can be bewildering. Through our ‘Digital Eagles’ programme, we want to take customers and non-customers on a journey to improve their technology capabilities and feel confident to embrace the new digital revolution, so they can reap the benefits of being online. Whether they’re 10 or 110, we don’t want to leave anyone behind.”

29 per cent of Brits could potentially benefit from the support of a Digital Eagle, and say they need more help and confidence using digital devices or gadgets. As expected, this figure increases with age with the findings revealing that 4.15m[iii] of over 65s (38 per cent) saying the need their digital confidence boosted.

The most frequently asked questions across all age groups are focused on downloading photos onto tech devices (32 per cent) and downloading apps (32 per cent). But the findings show that one in five people say they would appreciate support to build their confidence with carrying out basic online tasks such as sending an email (20 per cent) and accessing the internet on their device (20 per cent).

Despite these disputes taking place, the research shows a positive picture when it comes to older generations’ appetite to be better connected and explore more online with the findings show that over 65s are going on line 27 per cent more often than a year ago. And interestingly, the 25-34 year old age group share the same goal for going online with the older generations (55+ year old), both groups answering that they want to connect with family and friends the most.

Tristan Wilkinson, Interim CEO at Go ON UK said: “In the UK, almost one in five adults (19 per cent) lack the Basic Online Skills needed to send and receive an email, use a search engine, browse online or complete online application forms. The role of the digital champion is essential if we are to bridge this gap and arm people with the digital skills needed to thrive and survive the digital age”.

To find out more information on how Barclays Digital Eagles across the UK can help you on your digital journey, go into a Barclays branch or visit

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

[i] Based on ONS Population Estimates for over 18’s in UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2012

[ii] Younger generation defined as children of parents aged in the 45-64 age bracket

[iii] Based on ONS Population Estimates for over 65s in UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2012

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