One in five UK adults has never sent an email – survey

1 Nov 2011

A lack of time and physical distance are often the cause of people losing touch, according to a BT/ICM survey

One in five (20pc) adults in the UK has never sent an email, new research from BT’s Get IT Together campaign suggests.

Around 9m people in the UK still haven’t used the internet, according to BT. The telecoms company, through it’s Get IT Together campaign, is committed to helping to get another 100,000 people online for the first time by the end of 2012.

Help someone get online:

• Make it relevant – show them how exciting the internet can make their favourite pastimes, be that shopping, gardening or music.

• Be patient – everyone learns new skills at different speeds and remember the person you are teaching may not have grown up with computers in the same way you did.

• Keep it local – a great way to make the internet seem less daunting is to focus on something local, such as bus routes or regional news.

• You’re in charge, not the computer! – Reassure the person you’re teaching that it’s really pretty hard to break a computer.

• Set realistic goals – Let your student learn at their own pace and keep sessions short and sweet.

BT is also aiming to encourage and enable at least 10,000 people to become ‘Digital Champions’ helping and inspiring others to get online.

The BT/ICM telephone survey of more than 2,000 adults found that of those already online, four in 10 (40pc) have used email to reconnect with someone and more than half (53pc) got back in touch using Facebook. Almost half (47pc) of those who had lost touch with a close family member said they would like to reconnect with them. Only about one in 10 (9pc) wanted to get back in touch with a former flame.

A lack of time and physical distance are often the cause of people losing touch. More than half (54pc) of those surveyed said they had lost contact with someone because they didn’t have time to keep in touch. Almost half (46pc) reported losing touch because their friend or family member had moved to another part of the country and 42pc of those who had lost touch said distance prevented them reconnecting.

Martha Lane Fox is the UK’s Digital Champion, and leads Race Online 2012, the UK campaign to get everyone in the UK online by the Olympic year.

“There are still 8.7m people in the UK who’ve never made a free Skype call, explored and expanded their interests or got a great deal online. Yet, it’s impossible to imagine life without the web for anyone who uses it regularly,” Fox said.

“We live in an age when ‘digital’ is a vital life skill: as basic as knowing how to read and write. Ninety per cent of new jobs require it: you’re 25pc more likely to get work when you have web skills and once in work you’ll earn up to 10pc more. It’s simply unacceptable that so many people are still unable to benefit from what the web can offer.”