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Almost one-fifth of Britons are non-net users

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Almost one-fifth of Britons are non-net users

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:35 pm

Almost 20% of Britons
are non-net users

The detailed in-home survey of almost 2,000 Britons found that 18% described themselves as non-users

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII), which carried out the research, said people falling into the category tended to be older and poorer than frequent net users.

The size of the group presented a "dilemma" for any government trying to reach and support them, said the OII.

Age drop

"Non-users are older, proportionately less well-educated and have lower incomes," said Dr Grant Blank, survey research fellow at the OII, who oversaw the project.

Non-users, said Dr Blank, were those who did not go online via any means - either phone or computer. The proportion of those falling into this category grew as people aged, he said.

The figure of 18% is higher than other official measures of non-users, he said, because of the way the OII sampled the UK population.

The OII survey visited people in their homes and gathered a more detailed view of Britons' online lives.

"Virtually everyone is online before age 50," Dr Blank told the BBC.

After that milestone, he said, there was a "sharp decline" in use of about 2% a year.

"There are a lot of things about the internet that get less useful as you get older," he said.

As people's circle of friends and interests shrink they see less and less reason to spend time online.

Other survey findings:

    10% do not use the net because of privacy worries

    40% of those earning less than £12,500 do not go online

    70% of unhappy with advertising and data tracking

    12% have been hit by computer viruses

    11% got abusive emails

Old-fashioned ways

Earlier versions of the survey found the 50-plus drop-off in net use had persisted for a long time, said Dr Blank, suggesting it was not tied to a particular age group that grew up without the net.

Many of those who avoided the net could benefit if they ventured online, he said. The wide range of good health information might prove useful for many people in the 18% group.

In addition, he said, the UK government was seeking to move more of its aid and benefit systems online - many of which were targeted at the group that shunned the net.

"One of the ironies of this is that people who receive government support in various ways are people who tend to be older, poorer and less well-educated and those are exactly the people who are less likely to be online," he said.

"That presents a dilemma for the government as making contact has to be done in the old-fashioned way which is time-consuming and expensive," he said.

Follow-up work would involve looking into ways to reach non-users and tempting them to use the net.

The OII survey was sponsored by the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as well as tech firms BT and Google.
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Almost one-fifth of Britons are non-net users



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