It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness Day aimed at getting people thinking about digital accessibility and the needs of people with different disabilities.
Improving access to digital information including news, current affairs, sports and popular shows is something I am personally very passionate about.
I know just what a big difference captions make to me and to thousands of other people.
I have blogged before about how captions are essential for a healthy democracy and how far ahead Australia is of New Zealand.
With the rise of social media and on-demand TV as a channel for current affairs, breaking news and popular shows, it is becoming more important than ever for deaf and hard of hearing people to have full access to digital information.
Lack of access to captions on digital platforms just compounds the social isolation that many deaf people experience.
Closed captions are not just for adults – children are missing out when things are not captioned. Annabel and Alexandra, who also attended the petition handover, are two sisters who have produced this lovely video saying why they need words.
Captions are not just for deaf and hard of hearing either! There are many other groups of people, including people who experience sensory overload, who also benefit from captions.
With the dramatic rise in smart phones, captions are also increasingly convenient for hearing people. A parliamentary colleague admitted recently that he wished there were captions for Parliament on-demand TV so that he could keep track of debates on his phone without having the sound on.
Captions are also good for businesses! According to Facebook, videos with captions are doing much better than videos without captions because so many people now access Facebook on their phones in public places. Which means that they are often scrolling through Facebook in public situations with the sound off.
Let’s help kids like Annabel have proper access to the information they need to learn and grow #CaptionItNZ!