Thursday, September 26, 2013

Were You on the Internet Today?

If I were a guessing person, I would say the answer to that question is yes! As law profs, it seems we spend countless hours in front of our computers and on the Internet, researching, writing emails, and even teaching on-line.  But we need to remember, not everyone goes on-line. A new Pew report gives us some insights into those who do not use the internet and the reasons why.

Kathryn Zickuhr's report, Who's Not Online and Why was released on September 25, 2013.  Among the findings:

  • 34% of non-internet users think the internet is just not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it.
  • 32% of non-internet users cite reasons tied to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.
  • 19% of non-internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an internet connection.
  • 7% of non-users cited a physical lack of availability or access to the internet.

The report breaks down the data by gender, age, ethnicity, education, household income, and community.  Page 9 of the pdf version of the report summarizes information about the 65+ non-user:

Adults ages 65 and older are significantly more likely than any other age group to be
offline, with 44% saying they don’t use the internet or email; among the next
youngest age group, adults ages 50-64, only 17% don’t go online. If we narrow
our focus to members of the G.I. Generation, those born in 1936 or earlier
(ages 77 and older in 2013), a full 62% don’t use the internet or email.

Overall, adults ages 65 and older account for almost half (49%) of non-internet users by age group.

Asked whether they would be able to start using the internet in the future, just 13%
of non-internet users ages 65 and older said they would know enough to go online,
while 66% say they would need help. Just 5% of offline adults in this age group
say they would like to start using the internet or email.

Finally, 44% of non-internet users ages 65 and older have asked a friend or family
member to look something up or complete a task on the internet for them, a rate
similar to other offline adults.

 The full report can be accessed here.

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