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Although it’s hard to imagine, we all know someone that’s not online and doesn’t utilize an internet connection on a day-to-day basis. When you think of that offline individual, your mind may automatically jump to an older generation.
But, a new study by Capgemini Research Institute shows the least connected age group and overall offline population may be more diverse than expected. And, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time for private and public organizations to work to get them connected or risk the marginalization of a large group of working-age adults.
Who’s not online?
The Capgemini study surveyed 5,000 people — across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, India and Sweden — and found that 43% of users without internet access are 36 years old or younger. 35% of the offline population is the age group just leaving their parents, including ages 22-36. The chasm between those with access to the internet and computers and those that do not is often referred to as the “digital divide.”
The disadvantages of the digital divide
Public safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the way people are working, learning and navigating everyday life. Now, more than ever, people are relying on their internet connections in order to utilize the many vital online resources available to the world.
Findings from the Capgemini report show that offline individuals can suffer from a lack of access in a multitude of ways:
- 46% of respondents would feel more connected to friends and family if they had access to the internet
- 34% of respondents are interested in using the internet to apply for public benefits like housing, food and healthcare, following the digital transformation of public services and increasing difficulties to do their online administration
- 44% of respondents believe they would be able to find better-paying jobs and educate themselves if they had access to the internet
- 41% of respondents aged 22 to 36 wish they could search and apply for jobs online (29% of respondents overall)
Reasons for being offline range from lack of access and digital literacy to a perceived lack of interest stemming from fear.
Who should bridge the gap?
Capgemini believes it to be the responsibility of private organizations to think about how they can incorporate digital inclusion and equality into their business strategy. Those working for public organizations can do more to play leading roles to enable internet access in marginalized areas.
Capgemini itself will focus on four key areas to do their part in decreasing the digital divide:
- Digital literacy – work to provide support to digitally excluded groups to have more autonomy in accessing public and private online services
- Digital academies – work to enable employment for disadvantaged populations and those distanced from the job market through digital skills training
- Technology for positive impact – work to combine technology, business and society to solve key societal issues
- Thought leadership – work with think tanks and intellectual bodies while joining forces with clients, public bodies and academies to drive impact through digital inclusion initiatives
What if I need to shop broadband?
Our experts are standing by to help you shop providers in your area and schedule your installation appointment (or self-installation) for your new internet services. Call now for more information on what’s available near you.
Looking for more on U.S. broadband initiatives? Check out our Keep Americans Connected breakdown on what providers are doing to connect potential subscribers and keep current subscribers online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taylor is a veteran member of the Allconnect content team and has spearheaded a number of projects, most notably our holiday tech gift guide. Among her other top trafficked pieces is Best… Read more
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