Feeds

Poor left stranded by digital divide

Still, they've got women and old people for company

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

Income, education and age as the biggest factors in creating the digital divide, according to a European Union report. It reveals that women are taking to technology in greater numbers than ever, and the over-55s are also gaining computer skills. But poor, badly educated people are still lagging behind.

Just to recap: the research has uncovered that people who can't afford a computer, or don't know how to use one, are much less likely to be online that anyone else. Just as well someone found out, really.

The report, eInclusion revisited: the local dimension of the Information Society, concludes that computer skills can help people avoid poverty, and warns that without action, Europe will become increasingly polarised between what it calls the e-included and the e-excluded.

Part of the problem, it says, is that the internet requires literacy, and lots of the content is aimed at highly educated people. It concludes that many people trying to pick up computer skills give up on their courses because none of the content is of interest.

Since it is possible to find almost anything on the net, we are a little perplexed by this conclusion. To horribly misquote Samuel Johnson, we argue that if someone can't find anything interesting online, they are probably not going to be interested in much at all. But the report is quite serious about its conclusions, and warns that being excluded from the online world compounds the difficulties faced by the poor and the long-term unemployed.

Still, the proportion of the European population using the net has not been badly affected by the addition of ten new member states. Before enlargement 43.5 per cent of the population was online. This has fallen to 41.4 per cent. All the new member states have at least 25 per cent of their populations switched on to the web, better than both Greece and Portugal. ®

Related stories

BT warns of broadband divide ahead of Ofcom review
US netizens: white, wealthy and full of it - shock!
'Sophisticated' UK sprints ahead in ICT race

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.