Life without the Internet

Life without the Internet

Younger generations can hardly imagine not using the Internet. If you look at the socio-demographics of internet users, it becomes apparent that almost every person between the ages of 14 and 29 is online. It is different for people over 60 years of age. Although the number of online users has been increasing slowly for years, almost half of these people are still offline at 49.6 percent. Based on the current population data, there are more than 10 million people in UK. But why is it like that?

The reasons for not using the Internet are extremely varied. Not all offline people are consciously against using the Web decided. In addition to financial aspects and technical hurdles, a lack of skills in dealing with the Internet also leads to staying offline. As a study by the Austrian Institute for Strategy Analysis shows, the lack of knowledge about the potential uses of the Internet is a major reason, especially for older offline people. The study comes to the conclusion that the main reason for not turning to the World Wide Web is the lack of awareness of its possibilities.

Technical challenges in Internet use are corresponding downstream problems that only gain relevance when a turn to the Internet becomes more likely for certain reasons. “Offline people sometimes have doubts about their online skills, but are primarily held back by the lack of interest and feeling of need. A connection between a lack of skills in dealing with technology and a lack of interest in the Internet is not excluded by the study’s editors.

No interest in the internet – experience is the key

Decisive for turning to the Internet are therefore personal interest and the experiences made with this and other media. The recognition of added value on the Internet is closely linked to a person’s media biography. Based on the assumption that people deal with certain individual needs and topics from their living environment with the media, expectations of the medium are linked to its performance based on previous experiences.

The sooner a medium meets one’s own needs and the more positive the experience made with it, the more likely it will be received when required.

People over 60 years of age: strong ties to traditional mass media

The Internet is a place of information and communication, but also of entertainment and presentation. If you look at the media worlds of people aged 60 and over, it is noticeable in comparison to younger people that there is a strong connection to classic mass media such as television, radio or the newspaper.

Older people spend considerably more time with these media; their need for information and entertainment is thus satisfied. If you combine this use with the above-described approach of needs orientation and the individual media biography, it becomes clear with regard to older offline people that expectations and routines are central factors for interest in a medium.

Growing social pressure

The social pressure on people who do not use the internet is increasing on several levels. On the one hand, using the Internet is becoming more and more natural. On television there are regular references to other offers on the Internet, radio stations offer value-added services on their website and advertise these in their programs, and daily newspapers refer to videos and photo series on local occasions on their website. In short, the internet is omnipresent in the classic mass media.

This can put pressure on people who are not online. You can have the feeling that you are missing out on something, that you are no longer “on the cutting edge” and that you are excluded from today’s apparently elementary processes of obtaining information. On the other hand, the pressure often increases from the immediate social environment.

Smartphones are used by children or grandchildren who can naturally get information that is difficult or cumbersome to get without access to the Internet, or friends who are active on the Internet and share their experiences. Many processes of social coexistence have shifted to the Internet and exclude those who do not have access to them.

Changed media worlds

Everyday things like shopping, dealing with authorities or banking are done in the usual routine in direct social contact and in the respective institutions on site. Many offline people do not see a need to abandon these habits, especially since the possible advantages of doing things online are not immediately obvious.

Any (social) pressure that has arisen on the basis of changing living environments can lead to a forced change in behavior. If older offline people live, for example, in rural regions where more and more banks are closing their branches, the need for change may arise due to the removal of the next branch. Online banking can then become a real alternative.


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