Not Luddites - some people just find the internet isn't for them

6th March 2015

I’ve only just got round to reading the final report from IpsosMORI and the BBC about the changing face of media literacy.

It’s been a bit of a feature on the Keep Me Posted desk since it first appeared when its research outlined how many people were and were not using the internet, why not and their skill levels if they were.

It’s a survey that has been repeated since 2012 to show the general trend. However, I’ve certainly found some of the latest figures surprising. As the population of UK Adults aged 15 and above grew, there are more users of the internet. However, the proportion of non-users has actually increased too, up 2% between 2013 and 2014. That’s more than 8 million people who are not using the internet.

And it’s not that they are of the Luddite variety – more than a million of these are lapsed users, who have been online but found it was not for them. Their reasons ranged from not being interested (29%) to not needing it (28%), while 5% said it provided nothing they couldn’t get elsewhere. Given this still huge proportion of the population isn’t comfortable using the internet, why should they be forced into having their bills and statements via that method by service providers?

The survey also found six per cent of the adult population, or over three million relied on other people to access the internet for them. I had a very fruitful meeting yesterday with AdviceUK who mentioned one of the areas they hear about is financial abuse – relatives or neighbours taking advantage of vulnerable people by exploiting access to their finances. It’s fantastic if you have a trusted son or daughter, or tech-savvy grand children to guide you through the online world. But I do worry that some people migrated to online services have to call on others for help and might inadvertently be giving away private details that could be used for ill.

Our own survey with London Economics recently threw up trust and security of information as a big concern when it comes to our finances. We’ll be revealing the results next week, so do take a look.

Judith Donovan

The IpsosMORI/BBC report is here