This could be hard to believe for Americans equipped with at least three Internet-ready gadgets at any given moment, but 15 percent of their fellow citizens do not use the Internet or email, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
And why haven’t those millions of people availed themselves of Slashdot, Reddit, and a trillion photos of cute cats? Some 34 percent of non-Internet-using Americans think the online world simply isn’t relevant to their needs or interests; another 32 percent think the Internet isn’t very easy to use; another 19 percent cite the costs associated with owning the necessary hardware (and subscribing to an Internet connection); and 7 percent called out a physical lack of availability.
“Overall, most adults who do not use the internet or email do not express a strong desire to go online in the future: just 8 percent of offline adults say they would like to start using the internet or email, while 92 percent say they are not interested,” added the Pew report. “We also offline adults whether they would need assistance going online if they did wish to do so, and found that only 17 percent of all non-internet users say they would be able to start using the internet on their own, while 63 percent say they would need assistance.”
But those who don’t use the Internet aren’t cut off entirely from the online world. Pew reports that 44 percent of offline adults “have asked a friend or family member to look something up or complete a task on the Internet for them,” while 23 percent live in a household where someone else uses the Internet (making it possible to get the Web by osmosis, as it were), and 14 percent once used the Internet before stopping for some reason (probably too many cat photos).
Images: Pepgooner, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project