Having worked many years in the public sector, I have carefully watched the data on who is on line and who is not. It was always disappointing to be faced with data that showed that low income families did not have equal access to the power of the net.
A report on how broadband access is changing households, just released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, offers good news. Some some socio-economic barriers to Internet usage are disappearing worldwide.
- People in older age groups who are still in the workplace are just as likely as younger people to be on line. Thus, a person’s retirement age appears to be more of a factor than the person’s age, the study finds.
- Older people are less likely to go online to shop and for entertainment.
- Men are more likely than women to download software, and women are more likely to engage in health-related activities and online shopping.
- Home remains the most common place to access the Internet and Internet access spans across all socio-economic levels.