People in the UK who lack basic computer and online skills feel ‘behind the times’, ‘isolated’, ‘embarrassed‘ and ‘frustrated’, according to a new survey by Tinder Foundation, the organisation behind the national network of UK online centres.
The survey comes at the start of the nation’s seventh national Get Online Week, challenging the estimated 11 million offline citizens to try doing things the digital way at thousands of events. The survey gives a snap-shot of the personal toll being left out of the digital loop can take, with respondents reporting two of the biggest impacts as missing out on family news and not being able to access online bargains.
The survey was conducted with new UK online centres visitors over August. Some 70 per cent of respondents reported their digital skills levels had left them behind the times, with 65 per cent saying they felt frustrated with themselves, and 62 per cent feeling out of the loop. More than half felt they were missing out on family news and photographs, with 55 per cent reporting that their lack of digital skills actually prevents them keeping in touch with family and friends. 56 per cent also felt their skills were stopping them from saving money and finding bargains by researching and comparing prices online.
Helen Milner, chief executive of Tinder Foundation, says: “We know so much more about the digital divide than we used to – who’s effected, where, and how – but not necessarily how it feels to be on the wrong side of it. That’s where this survey comes in. It’s no surprise that being left out of something can be frustrating, but as we get more and more people online it’s too often assumed those left over can’t see the need for change. Clearly that’s not always the case, and some people know very well what they’re missing out on – and ultimately that’s got to be the key in engaging them in online life.
“During Get Online Week we aim to find people’s personal ‘triggers’ – the things that matter most to them that can tip the balance between use and non-use. This survey helped us think about how to motivate people, and how to start our Get Online Week conversations.”
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock says: “The modern world and workforce is becoming increasingly dependent on the internet, yet there are still 11 million people in the UK without basic digital skills. If we are to compete in the global race then we must have an IT and digitally literate population. This is why we are supporting Get online week to help people work more effectively, communicate better and make sure that Britain stays ahead in a digital world.”
The survey adds a personal dimension to the more in-depth picture of digital exclusion being built across the sector, including the latest reports from OxIS and BBC/Ipsos Media CT, which look at cultures of the internet and digital capabilities.