Internet Trends and Computer Privacy: Who’s Not Online and Why

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online dinosaurThe Pew Research Center’s Internet Project has revealed that 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the Internet or email. The survey results reveal interesting insights into people who choose — for any number of reasons — to not use the Internet.

What? Not use the Internet? Who are these dinosaurs, you think.

The truth is there are still plenty of folks who don’t use the Internet. How do they live? Well, they likely check out books at the library, shop at brick-n-mortar retail stores, wait in line at the bank to speak with a teller, don’t email, and {gasp!} pick up a landline telephone to call their friends and family.

Of course there are myriad reasons for not using the Internet as 2013 comes to a close. The Pew survey results show that Internet use remains strongly correlated with age, educational attainment, and household income. One of the strongest patterns in the data on Internet use is by age group: 44% of Americans ages 65 and older do not use the Internet. And some others choose not to use the Internet or email due to privacy concerns.

And get this — 92% of respondents who said they aren’t on the Internet also said they have no desire to be.

Among the Pew sample of 2,252 adults surveyed, here are the key reasons some do not use the Internet:

  • 34% of non-Internet users think the Internet is just not relevant or they do not want to use it.
  • 32% of non-Internet users cited difficulty or privacy concerns — either too frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.
  • 19% of non-Internet users cited expense of paying for an Internet connection.
  • 7% of non-users cited lack of access to the Internet.

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.