Good news this week that more than twice as many people over 75 use the internet as they did in 2011. But despite this rapid increase, millions of people in later life are not online. The UK Office of National Statistics released figures this week that showed 4.8 million people over the age of 55 are not online – making up 91% of all ‘non-users’. As a result, they are at risk of missing out on essential services as these continue to move online, and companies increasingly offer online-only deals.
The problem, of course, is that those not online are people with the lowest levels of wealth, health and education. In other words the very people most likely to benefit from crossing the digital divide and getting online.
A report by the Centre for Better Ageing and the digital charity the Good Things Foundation released this week urges the government, companies and organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable people don’t get locked out of essential services and benefits particularly since a number of people may be digitally excluded for many years to come. As the report concludes;
“It is easy to think that with the increasing digitisation of society everyone will eventually be online, and so the digital divide will simply fade away. In fact, the opposite is true. As our services and interactions become ever more digitised, the digital divide between the most and least advantaged in society will grow and may become amplified across the life course.We need to take action now to prevent this gap between the digital haves and have-nots from becoming entrenched.”
To access the full report and the Centre’s views of “The digital age: new approaches to supporting people in later life get online” Click Here
I owe my followers an apology. I have missed two weeks in a row for the very first time! Found myself subject to #DigitalExclusion in Crete.