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Digital Divide: UK. Internet Access in UK Does Digital Exclusion hurt people? Can Net/Web help underclass?. Internet Access in UK. 65% of UK households have Internet access 56% have broadband Who does not have access? “digitally excluded”

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digital divide uk
Digital Divide: UK
  • Internet Access in UK
  • Does Digital Exclusion hurt people?
  • Can Net/Web help underclass?
internet access in uk
Internet Access in UK
  • 65% of UK households have Internet access
    • 56% have broadband
  • Who does not have access?
    • “digitally excluded”
age matters most
Age matters most
  • Proportion never used Internet
    • 16-24: very small
    • 25-44: 8%
    • 45-54: 17%
    • 55-64: 44%
    • 65+: 70%
education also matters
Education also matters
  • Household Internet access
    • 93% of adults with degrees (<70 years)
    • 56% of adults with no quals (<70 years)
disabilities matter
Disabilities matter?
  • In 2004, only 30% of disabled adults had Internet access
    • Compared to 50% overall in 2004
    • Don’t know what 2008 figures are, I assume gap persists
does poverty matter
Does poverty matter?
  • When asked why their household does not have Internet access, 25% say too expensive
    • But govt provides free Internet access in public libraries, which is not heavily used
    • So not just poverty…
why people say no access
Why people say no access
  • 34%: don’t need it
  • 24%: don’t want it
  • 15%: equipment too expensive
  • 15%: lack skills
  • 11%: access (phone/broadband) too exp
  • 10%: have access elsewhere
why no access
Why no access
  • Quotes from Demos report
    • I’d love to give it a go, I just don’t know where to start
    • Just stick to what you know, that’s what I say
    • You can’t miss what you never had
    • I’m a big fan of using the Internet to send pictures long distance to family, I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it
access mostly at home
Access mostly at home
  • Use Internet
    • At home: 90%
    • At work: 44%
    • Someone else’s home: 20%
    • School, uni: 14%
    • Library: 4%
    • Internet café: 5%
  • Public access (library) not too common
does location matter
Does location matter?
  • Five years ago, many rural areas did not have good Internet access
  • As far as I can tell, this is not a problem in 2008, not much difference in rural/urban household Internet access
mobile access less common
Mobile access less common
  • Access Internet via
    • Laptop with wireless: 23%
    • 2G mobile: 15%
    • 3G mobile: 4%
  • Different from many third-world countries, where most people access net via mobiles
  • Who does not use Internet
  • Elderly, poorly educated, disabled
    • don’t want to change
    • lack skills to use Internet, scared of it?
      • Put off by jargon: eg, “blog” vs “diary”
    • harder to use net because of disabilities?
      • Head-switch vs mouse
child with head switch
Child with Head Switch
  • [picture of child in wheelchair with head switch]
many exceptions
Many exceptions!!
  • Many elderly, poorly educated, disabled people use the Internet every day!
    • Vera (76): I’ve only been using computers for a couple of years, and it took some convincing to get started, but now Iove it
  • Statistical generalisations, not absolute laws
  • Does “digital exclusion” hurt people?
    • Keep in mind elderly, disabled, poorly educated are already “bottom of the heap”
  • How would Internet access help these people?
benefits of e society
Benefits of E-Society
  • Cheaper, better goods
    • Elderly, disabled have hard time shopping around
  • More social interaction via email, etc
    • Elderly, disabled often isolated
  • Better education, work prospects
    • For poorly educated
costs of e society
Costs of E-Society
  • Fears that digitally excluded will be left behind as society goes digital
    • Worse access to govt services
    • Closure of local bookstores, etc because of e-competition
    • Feeling left behind in general, as society embraces the web/net
      • Enhance social isolation
govt programs
Govt programs
  • Many govt initiatives
    • Provide computers to poor people, especially young people
    • Provide computers in community centes, libraries
    • Subsidise broadband in rural areas
  • UK has Minister for Digital Inclusion
    • Not clear to me what he does…
example social isolation
Example: Social Isolation
  • Many elderly people in UK live on their own, away from family
    • Really want contact with (grand)children
  • Internet can help
    • Email, Skype, social networks, …
  • Internet can hurt
    • Grandchildren not interested in face-to-face visits
  • How do you interact with your (grand)parents
    • Does Internet help or hurt?
can net help solve social prob
Can Net help solve social prob
  • One of UK’s biggest problem is “underclass”
    • 20% of population who live in sink estates, can’t read, can’t get a job, etc
  • Can net/web/e-society help such people
skillsum again
SkillSum again
  • Reminder: research project to assess people with poor reading and maths skills
    • Web-based
    • Encourage people to get help if appropriate
  • Didn’t work well because of tech issues
  • Would it help if it did work?
yes it would help
Yes it would help
  • Helping the underclass get good jobs is the best way to help them
  • They cannot get decent jobs if they cannnot read or do basic maths
  • E-learning can help them acquire these skills
no it won t help
No it won’t help
  • Other problems need to be solved
  • Kate X (16 yrs old, bright, uneducated)
    • Main barrier is that her peers beat her up (hospitalise her) if she seems to take her education seriously
  • Brian Y (17 yrs old, bright, uneducated)
    • Doing well, learning reading/maths; but wants to be a plumber and there aren’t any such jobs locally (and he won’t move)
  • Jane Z (24 yrs old, avg intelligence)
    • Working as shop assistant, can’t get better job unless improve reading/maths
    • Drug addict: trying to quit, but borrowed money from local pusher at loan shark rates, cannot pay this off, pusher’s goons attacked her boyfriend for non-payment
    • Hard to help her until drug problem resolved
can we help
Can we help
  • E-Society limited help to people who are truly bottom of heap?
    • E-Society in third-world countries: not much help to people who are worried about getting enough to eat
    • E-Society in UK: not much help to drug addict in debt thralldom to local pusher
  • More help to people who have more moderate problems?
other ways of helping
Other ways of helping
  • E-govt: better access to benefits, social housing
  • E-commerce: easier to apply for jobs, more aware of jobs outside local area
  • E-health: info on diet, smoking, etc
  • Do these work?
class opinions
Class opinions?
  • Can we use net/web/e-society to help the underclass?
  • Or is this pointless because it doesn’t address the “real” underlying problems?