10 per cent of young people rarely use the internet


A new report commissioned by the Nominet Trust shows that 10 per cent of all young people aged between 17 and 23 years old rarely use the internet, if at all.

It also revealed that some of those surveyed were embarrassed to admit to even friends that they didn’t understand how to use the internet properly and some were unable to use email.

The research ‘On the periphery? Understanding low and discontinued Internet use amongst young people in Britain’, conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, reveals that those young people who rarely use the internet lack the skills, motivation or simply don’t have access to the internet to use it.

The study coincides with the opening of a national exhibition of photography Our Digital Planet which will visit cities around the UK and showcase images of how the internet has had an impact on people’s lives.

Annika Small, Director of Nominet Trust said: “The report shows that the widely-held assumption that all young people are digitally literate and able to navigate the internet meaningfully is inaccurate. This is something we urgently need to address if we are to support young people to cope with - and contribute to - a complex, global and digital society.

“The study also highlighted that it is often those young people with low literacy levels who don’t use the internet, either because of lack of skills or lack of access. In this digital world, we need to ensure that all young people can be confident users of the internet and have access to it and the support needed to develop the skills to be able to use the internet successfully.”

The research suggests that young people without basic educational skills find they are unable to complete internet searches successfully, usually because of low literacy levels. The cost and a lack of access to the internet also play a huge part in them not being able to successfully use the internet.

Most of the young people identified as discontinued internet users were currently unemployed and a number of them had not finished secondary education.

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