For many of us, being online is as natural as watching TV or reading a newspaper – it is something we do all of the time, often from a smartphone or tablet. Yet statistics show that around 10% of the population have never used the internet – this is known as digital exclusion. But why does this happen and how can it be combated?
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), there are four main reasons why people suffer from digital exclusion:
The issue of access is a complex one. For some people, it is about having the funds to buy a computer or a smartphone. For others, it is having a landline into the house or being able to afford to use internet data to search the web. Around 10% of people who are digitally excluded are in this position due to the cost of equipment.
The biggest reason people don’t use the internet is that they don’t see the benefit. In fact, 60% of those 5.3 million people who aren’t online simply see no benefit to it. However, this could be combated by making it easy for them to see how the online world can help them. Often this comes from their peers –, especially with the older age groups.
Combatting digital exclusion is about helping people to learn to use the internet and showing them how it can help them. It is also about making sure there is a comprehensive network of access to even remote parts of the country and that equipment is affordable for all.
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