Growing Privacy Concerns Put People Off Using The Internet

It’s been no secret that there have been growing concerns over online privacy in recent times. Social media users have been encouraged to keep their data secure, as well as those who often shop online. This issue has gotten so worse that one in ten people is put off from using the internet. 

The statistic comes from a study by Oxford University, where a survey was conducted to gather the thoughts of users who are seemingly cautious about using the web. The survey showed that 70 percent of people are uncomfortable with using the internet. Ten years ago, the thought of being uncomfortable with using the internet would be unheard of. However, in 2019, concerns are being raised more than ever. A similar survey was conducted in 2013, where only one percent shared similar concerns. 

Based on the study, although many were concerned about privacy issues, reasons varied over why people were put off by the internet. 69 percent said they ‘weren’t interested and 18 percent said they didn’t know how to use it, an increase from 8 percent in 2013. The study also reviewed users internet activity. 92 percent of users use the internet to buy products, 83 percent used the internet to pay bills and 66 percent of users followed celebrities. 
Researchers, who spoke to about 2,000 people, are concerned that people not online are missing out on opportunities that could improve their quality of life.

'The majority of people are having positive experiences of internet use, regularly going online to watch their favourite shows or pay their utility bills,' said Dr Grant Blank, survey research fellow at Oxford Internet Institute, which conducted the survey.

However, there is a perception gap between internet users and non-users, with non-users resolutely avoiding the internet. Dr. Grant Blank added: 'Often these non-users are from low-income groups, where being online could potentially improve their quality of life.’ 

'We hope this survey contributes to the public debate about what further steps can be taken to narrow the digital divide.'

'Helping motivate people who lack the confidence to get online is essential to bridge the digital divide,' said Andy Wales, chief digital impact and sustainability officer at BT, which co-sponsored the study with Google and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.