Almost a third of older people do not use a computer, study claims


The Office for National Statistics study has led to calls to ensure the elderly are not digitally excluded

9th August 2017 by Gareth Jones 3 Comments

Almost a third of older people have never used a computer, according to a new survey.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Internet Access study also shows a wide gap between social media use by young people and those aged 65 or over.

The ONS study revealed that 90% of UK households have an internet connection, up from 61% a decade ago.

However three in ten of those questioned who were over the age of 65 said that they had never used a computer.

Only 27% of older people said they used social media, compared to 96% for 16 to 24-year-olds.

The findings of the study have led to calls from the third sector to ensure that older people are not digitally excluded.

Andrew Kaye, head of policy at Independent Age, said: “Older people in general are much less likely to shop online, do internet banking or use social media. As long as this is the case, it’s really important people still have a choice about how they access goods and services otherwise we risk disadvantaging a large group of older people by going digital by default.”

David McNeill, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations digital director, said it is working with charities to increase their digital skills and those of the people charity's support.

“The rapid growth in internet access and use demonstrates how integral it has become to our daily lives. However, the high level of use hides significant inequalities,” he said.

“We know that one-in-five adults lack basic digital skills which can help them to save money, communicate or apply for jobs. People that are older, on low incomes or have a disability are most likely to be digitally excluded, yet perhaps have the most to gain from being confident online. These people need the support to develop the skills, as well as have access to the right devices and affordable connectivity, to fully benefit from being online.”

Last week, it was announced that One Digital – a project which helps people to improve their digital skills – is to be extended for a further three years after receiving a £4 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund.


10th August 2017 by M. B,

I find this article interesting. I work with a few organisations and constantly shouting "Do not forget those who do,not use Internet services". Too many organisations do not want to know about them.

21st August 2017 by Margaret McDermoty

Government Agencies are the worst offender as the film I Daniel Blake aptly pointed out.You can now only contact govt Dept's eg tax or pensions online.They do not give postal addresses to write to and the phone lines are so complicated its a nightmare to get through. There should be an initiative to help older people get easier access They often don't have anyone to help them.

21st August 2017 by Margaret McDermoty

Government Dept's worst offenders they no longer give postal address or send forms Not all of us oldies have people to help .I can use I computer but have visual impairements and find it hard to fill a form in on line can't see the screen.