Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Digital Britain - and the ones who say no thanks - OxIS, 2009

Internet UK - No thanks
In contrast to the recommendations of Digital Britain around infrastructure and innovation, today, the Oxford Internet Insititute, OII, through their The Oxford Internet Survey (OxIS) 2009, says the main challenges in creating a Digital Britain will be to change the perceptions of the third of the British population who choose not to use the internet. The full report, here

The digital refuseniks
The survey goes on to underline that "while most British internet users (84%) are extremely confident about using new technology and see the Internet as central to many activities, over half of non-users of the internet (57%) now distrust new technology more than they did before."

The survey, questioned 2000 people in 2009. It found that cost, a lack of access and a lack of interest were the main reasons that led to people deciding to stop using the Internet.

The detail
On the detail the report offers a breakdown of where the digital divide lies: twice as many people from higher than lower socio-economic groups use the Internet.

Age has an impact on digital choices with the proportion of Internet users between 25-54 increasing considerably since 2003. In contrast there isn't a significant change for other age groups.

The proportion of retired people going online has inched forward from 30% in 2005 to 34% in 2009. However, the gap between male and female users has nearly closed with 71% of men and 68% women now using the Internet; gaps in self-confidence between men and women, however, remain. 100% of students and 88% of households with children said they had access to the Internet.

Attitudes and beliefs the key
And just to underline the difference of opinion/perspective - Professor Dutton, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute says the major issues are neither infrastructures nor innovation. The key concerns are the attitudes and beliefs of individuals uninterested in the Internet.

Non users still like the tele or the radio
While users opt for the Internet as their most trusted medium, non-users or people who have stopped said they trusted television and radio the most.

Non-users were most concerned about the negative aspects of online communication, with 86% agreeing that people can find personal information too easily online, as compared with only half of users.

Over two-thirds (68%) of non-users said that there was too much immoral material online and nearly three quarters (71%) of non-users wanted greater government regulation of the Internet, as compared with 57% of users.

Internet Addiction
Both users (77%) and non-users (71%) agreed that the Internet can be addictive. People who had stopped using the Internet (41%) were twice as likely as users (23%) to say that dealing with the amount of information was exhausting.

There was little difference between unemployed, retired and unemployed ex-users in finding someone who could help them on the Internet (88-93%). The most popular person for ex-users to ask for help was a friend (69%), while non-users were most likely to ask a child or grandchild (68%).

The OxIS 2009 Report
Dutton, W.H., Helsper, E.J. and Gerber, M.M. (2009) Oxford Internet Survey 2009 Report:
The Internet in Britain. Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. [PDF]


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