It’s easy to think of the internet as a ubiquitous force that everyone uses. Personally, I’ve never lived in a world without the internet, and I think I’ve mailed two letters in my life.
That’s why I find a new study by a research firm called Pew Internet so astonishing. Pew recently revealed that 15% of Americans do not have internet and 5% of Americans think that the internet is “irrelevant”.
All of the respondents were aged 18 and over. When asked why they weren’t going online, respondents answered with the following reasons in descending order of popularity:
-It’s a waste of time
-It’s not relevant to them
-They have no need or interest in the internet
Other reasons included the high price of setting up internet or the difficulty of establishing a connection in a rural/inaccessible area. Some respondents simply found the internet too complicated to use, while others worried about running into spam, spyware, and viruses.
The study also revealed that 3% of internet users are still relying on dial-up connections, while 44% of non-internet users simply ask other people to look up information on their behalf.
What does it all mean?
I can see why people would think the internet is a waste of time, because it totally is. But calling the internet “irrelevant” is like saying cars are stupid: it just doesn’t make sense.
How many people do you know how still use dial-up? Do you know anybody who doesn’t have internet? Personally, all of my grandparents have Facebook profiles, and even my oldest relatives have – at the very least – an email address.
Clearly, the internet still has a bit further to go before it becomes ‘ubiquitous’.