Spring 2019


Carers in Herts iPads and Tablets Intermediate Course Defies 'Digital Divide'

Carers in Herts IPad Course

We were thrilled to receive this photo from our tutor, Evelyn at her Intermediate iPads & Tablets course, run via our partner, Carers in Herts. This course ended last week and the learners are shown here with their certificates of completion. This photo was welcomed by the HAFLS team following the worrying headlines from the latest ONS Digital Divide report.

  •  5.3 million adults in the UK, or 10.0% of the adult UK population have either never used the internet or have not used it in the last three months. Since 2011 this number has almost halved, but remains significant.
  • The 5 basic digital skills used to measure digital inclusion in the report were:
    • managing information: using a search engine to look for information, finding a website visited before or downloading or saving a photo found online
    • communicating: sending a personal message via email or online messaging service or carefully making comments and sharing information online.
    • transacting: buying items or services from a website or buying and installing apps on a device.
    • problem solving: verifying sources of information online or solving a problem with a device or digital service using online help.
    • creating: completing online application forms including personal details or creating something new from existing online images, music or video.
  • It’s estimated that 8% of people in the UK (4.3 million people) have zero basic digital skills (unable to do any of the activities described in the five basic digital skills).
  • 12% (6.4 million adults) are estimated to only have limited abilities online (missing at least one of the basic digital skills).
  • Top 5 online activities are:
    • sending/receiving emails
    • finding information about goods or services
    • internet banking
    • social networking
    • watching videos on YouTube or similar
  • 40% of online respondents indicate that being online helps them feel less alone – this is felt even more strongly among disabled people
  • London has the lowest proportion of internet non-users (7.0%) while Northern Ireland continues to have the highest proportion (14.2%), followed by the North East of England (12.1%).
  • Women consistently make up over half of internet non-users (58%) (3.1 million), although the overall number has declined over time
  • 12% of people aged between 11 and 18 years (700,000) report having no internet access from a computer or tablet, while a further 60,000 report having no home internet access at all.
  • An increasing proportion of internet non-users are over the age of 65 years
  • Fewer adults report accessing the internet “on the go” in older age groups
  • Across all age groups, a large proportion of adult internet non-users are disabled. Though the percentage of disabled adults not using the internet has been declining, in 2018 it was 23.3% compared with only 6.0% of those without a disability.
  • The ethnicity gap in internet usage has narrowed over time as the proportion of internet non-users has declined
  • Among those of working age, the economically inactive are the most likely to be internet non-users
  • The percentage of households with an internet connection increases with income
  • People who live alone are less likely to have an internet connection at home
  • Barriers to digital inclusion:

-  perceived lack of need

-  lack of skills

-  able to access net elsewhere

-  equipment/subscription costs

-  privacy/security concerns

-  physical or sensorial disability

  • Lack of skills reported by many older people who express the feeling that it is simply too late in life for them to start learning digital skills, saying that since they have always managed perfectly well without a computer or internet access, they see no reason to start now. Suggests they may not realise the benefits of being online, but may also reflect that they consider the benefits insufficient to justify the effort.
  • The barriers to digital inclusion suggest part of the education for digital skills may need to start by highlighting the benefits of being online and overcoming any apprehension to engagement.

HAFLS offer a wide range of courses designed to improve ICT skills, for all ages and all abilities. Browse our ICT courses here.


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