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National Indicator: Use of the Internet

l Widen use of the Internet

Indicator Measure
Percentage of adults using the internet for personal use

Current Status
Since the baseline year of 2007, the percentage of adults using the internet for personal use has increased from 62.7% to 81.9% in 2015.  Between 2014 and 2015 the figure decreased from 82.0% to 81.9%, this was not a statistically significant change.

2007 to 2015

Source: Scottish Household Survey
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 27 September 2016
Next Update: September 2017

 

Widen use of the Internet

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
What more do we know about this National Indicator?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

The advantages of accessing the internet can have an impact on an individual's wellbeing, education, financial situation and employment opportunities. Evidence shows that the key group who do not take advantage of the internet in their lives are actually those who might benefit most, for example from cheaper online purchasing, opportunities to keep in touch via social media and Skype, and awareness of employment vacancies. That is people who are from the older end of the spectrum, who are not employed or on low incomes, and who may have a form of disability.

The digital participation strategy, A National Framework for Local Action, was published on 24 April 2014. The strategy sets out a national framework for action in local communities and workplaces across the country which will use the power of the internet to break down inequalities in our society and help people make best use of the internet to become confident and creative users of digital technologies. At the highest level, digital participation is measured by access to, and use of, the internet.  In Scotland, both internet access and use has continued to grow steadily since measures began. Scotland’s ambition is to achieve world class levels of digital participation framed in a global context with the aim of matching the rates achieved by countries that currently lead the world in terms of digital inclusion.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Work carried out by our Analytical Services team shows that those who remain offline are predominantly older, in lower income groups and likely to live in social, rented accommodation. The younger demographic group is naturally inclined to use technology with their main barrier being financial. It is expected that universal use will occur organically with this group as they enter the job market. Thus over time internet usage is likely to increase, albeit slowly, through demographic trends. Policy is however required to influence the target non-user groups to encourage a change in their behaviour, something which the groups are reported not to consider valuable to them or a necessary part of their lives.

Availability and affordability of digital infrastructure are  also key to encouraging non-users to go online. Regarding availability the Scottish Government is, for example, working together with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through the Superfast Broadband rollout to ensure that broadband infrastructure reaches areas of Scotland where the market would otherwise not go. The Scottish Government is also working with ISPs to develop new low cost solutions to make broadband affordable for digitally excluded groups. An example of this is the project undertaken together with Glasgow Housing Association, providing low cost connectivity in a high rise block of flats.

What is the Government's role?

The digital participation strategy establishes a national movement for change where the Scottish Government will work in partnership with private, public and third sector organisations to ensure that all sections of Scottish society are able to make confident use of digital technologies and the internet. This work will tackle inequalities, remove barriers to participation and increase digital literacy amongst vulnerable groups and marginalised communities.

A Ministerial Advisory Group on Digital Participation has been established to strengthen government’s commitment to partnership working. The Group, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, consists of experts from business, academia, local government and the third sector. This group seeks to provide a strategic challenge function to optimise partnership approaches and to ensure collective actions achieve policy outcomes to increase the accessibility of digital technologies, improve digital literacy, promote the value of the internet to individuals and businesses, and work collectively to remove barriers to digital engagement by those groups at greatest risk of digital exclusion.

How is Scotland performing?

The percentage of adults using the internet for personal use was 82% in 2015, broadly similar to 2014. However, the figure is 19 percentage points higher than in the baseline year of 2007.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this National Indicator?

The use of the internet (for personal use) is strongly linked to age. In 2014, 96.5% of 16-24 year olds used the internet for personal use, compared to 68.7% of 60-74 year olds and under a third of people aged 75 and older. Since 2007 the proportion of people using the internet for personal use has increased in all age groups. Those aged 60-74 have seen the greatest increase.

Overall there is no significant difference in use of internet between the genders

In 2015, almost three quarters of adults in the most deprived areas used the internet for personal use. This compares to around 90 % in the least deprived areas. The more deprived areas of Scotland have seen the largest increases in internet usage since 2007.

Adults with a physical or mental health condition lasting or expected to last more than 12 months are less likely to use the internet for personal use. Over six out of ten with such a longstanding health condition use the internet for personal use, compared to almost nine out of ten among the rest of the population, it is worth noting that long term conditions and age (discussed above) are positively correlated.

Performance information about the use of the internet broken down by age, disability and area deprivation is available here.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference within 1 percentage point of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1 percentage point or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1 percentage point or more suggests the position is worsening.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Please note that the criteria for the update for this indicator changed between 2011 and 2012 after the Scotland Performs Technical Assessment Group  reviewed the criteria used for this  indicator. As this indicator is now approaching 100% within certain key groups, the scope for continuous improvement is more limited and the pace of change is slowing. Given this, the Technical Assessment Group decided that a threshold of 1 percentage point is now more appropriate for this indicator than the previous threshold of 3 percentage points.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

OFCOM

Scottish Libraries Information Council

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer

Smarter

View National Indicator Data

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Title:Widen use of the Internet
Description:Widen use of the Internet
File:Widen use of the internet [XLSX, 29.7 kb: 26 Sep 2016]
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