Internet access good for teenagers?

A while back I looked at the ONS data for internet access in the UK which showed continued growth in the proportion of internet connected households.

Last month, to coincide with the publication of Teenagers and Technology, the University of Oxford put out a press release with details of a study into the impact of the lack of internet access on teenagers. The headline conclusion is that those without net access are ‘educationally disadvantaged’:

Behind the statistics, our qualitative research shows that these disconnected young people are clearly missing out both educationally and socially

It goes on to assert that the benefits of internet access outweigh the disadvantages that parents often focus on.

Not that I’d ever fall into that category…

Want the wifi pwd 4 today? Unload the d’washer; make your beds; tidy your rooms; take out the trash. #generationz #parents

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Internet use in the UK

The Office for National Statistics have published their annual look at computer and internet use in the UK (the full data release has been delayed because of a statistical blip).

The key points quoted:

  • In 2012, 21 million households in Great Britain (80 per cent) had Internet access, compared with 19 million (77 per cent) in 2011
  • The number of households with Internet access has increased by 7.1 million (23 percentage points) since 2006, when directly comparable records began
  • In 2012, 93 per cent of households with Internet access used a fixed broadband connection, of which 30 per cent used a cable or fibre optic connection
  • Of the 5.2 million households without Internet access, the most common reason for not having a connection was that they ‘did not need it’ (54 per cent)
  • In 2012, 67 per cent of adults in Great Britain used a computer every day

One set of trends that I found interesting were the reasons for *not* using the internet as shown below:

ONS2012WhyNoInternet

Data source: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/rdit2/internet-access—households-and-individuals/2012/stb-internet-access–households-and-individuals–2012.html#tab-Reasons-for-no-household-Internet-access

I wonder to what degree ‘lack of skills’ and ‘don’t need’ are connected. Could a lack of skills result in a lack of appreciation for, or understanding of, the benefits of being connected?

With 5.2 million unconnected households there’s some way to go for the Digital Advisory Board. Then again I sometimes wonder how many of the 5.2 million are better off not connected? Those off-grid holidays can be quite relaxing after all…