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Old 04-19-2003, 04:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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sixate's Avatar
Location: Somewhere in Ohio
42% of Americans don't use the internet


Am I the only one amazed that this many people don't use the internet. WTF are people waiting on?

Many Americans Still Aren't Going Online, Survey Finds

By Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 17, 2003; Page E05

Now that people can log on at work, at home, in coffee shops, in airports and even in public parks, the Internet seems like a pervasive, nearly seamless entity in most American lives.

Most, but certainly not all. Forty-two percent of Americans still don't use the Internet and the majority of them do not believe they ever will, according to a study released yesterday.

Missing out on the most popular movement of the 1990s didn't seem to bother the unwired survey respondents. More than half of nonusers said they don't want Internet access or don't need it, a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found.

It's not just a matter of not being able to afford a computer or a connection, although cost did play a role for about a third of the nonusers. What PC enthusiasts overlook, but skeptics don't, is the time it takes to learn to use these technological tools, and the fact that the technology is often frustrating. Those issues play a role in why the dramatic rate of growth in Internet use has flattened out since the end of 2001, the survey's author said.

"What we've seen since the end of 2001, is that net growth has really stalled," said Amanda Lenhart, principal author of the study. But the population of Net users is not static, with "people coming online and people dropping offline."

Half of the people not using the Internet are over 50 years old, Lenhart noted, while people enrolled as students are the group most likely to use the Net.

Internet use also continues to vary by race, income and education level, according to the Pew report. While only 40 percent of white Americans are nonusers, 55 percent of African Americans and 46 percent of English-speaking Hispanics are offline as well. Forty-one percent of nonusers have a yearly household income below $30,000 and a quarter of them did not graduate from high school. People living in rural areas and in the South are also less likely to go online.

Thirty percent of nonusers said the price of going online is a major reason for their abstention, and nearly as many said they don't have time or that the Internet is "too complicated and hard to understand." Fifty-two percent of this group said they simply don't want or don't need the Net. Nearly a quarter of nonusers said they have never tried going online and know few others who log on regularly.

"There will always be a certain portion of the population that doesn't see any need or any urgency to adopt new technologies -- or see any benefit of what those new technologies bring," said Daniel E. Hess, vice president of ComScore Networks Inc., a Reston-based research firm.

A fifth of nonusers live in houses that are connected to the Net. The study found that some of these people are intimidated by the technology and some live with people who monopolize the computer. Another group views their nonuse as a source of pride and "are delighted to reject such a popular technology," the report said.

Phone interviews with 3,553 people in the spring of 2002, along with group interviews conducted in the Washington and Baltimore areas, provide the basis for the report. The survey had margin of error of 2 percentage points.
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Old 04-19-2003, 04:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
At least they didn't make it an online survey. :P

People, as a whole, are dumb. Look how long it took for people to get used to TV, and look how simple that was, relatively speaking. Now throw a computer in front of them, which pushes them to participate, and act, and do things, and they go nuts. They are so used to having things given to them, the very idea of interactivity just blows their mind. Young people are quicker to adopt, when they get the chance, but if their parents don't use the internet then it's harder. That's why public computers at librarys and ohter places are so important, they bring so many new people online.
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Old 04-19-2003, 04:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
Or it could be as simple as they have no interest.
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Old 04-19-2003, 04:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
Location: New Jersey
Or, maybe they don't know how to read... Maybe...

On the other hand, one could be happy that them folks don't use the intrnet. Imagine what it would be like if there were twice as many of everything online?
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Old 04-19-2003, 04:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
My parents don't have internet. Yes, I think they live in a cave a lot of the time, and it is immensely frustrating to not have good internet access when I'm home from school. Their rationale is that the internet is a fad, there is nothing but porn on the net anyways, and a bunch of other b.s. excuses that don't hold water. The fact is some people are just laggards who are scared of technology and don't know how to handle it.
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Old 04-19-2003, 04:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
That is crazy especially since most businesses are online and you have to use it even if it's for company related mail.

I think alot of people are still intimidated by a computer. I would like to see a worthy stand alone wireless email/browsing interface come about that could be expanded into other things like a touch screen remote for your stereo/TV/,MP3 jukebox etc..
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Old 04-19-2003, 05:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
I change
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Location: USA
Well, yeah.
It's not like we have the most motivated population of interesting and interested citizens.
I mean, I can understand why 42% of the people I see have no great desire to come to terms with much information on their own.
I'd expect as the Internet becomes increasingly "bundled" and packaged by the cable and entertainment industries, usage will increase. But of course, like aol, it won't really be the Internet anymore at that point, will it?
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Old 04-19-2003, 05:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
billege's Avatar
Location: Ohio
I have basically replaced TV with the internet. One technology requires that I sit in front of it and react. That same technology pushes what others want me to react to at me.

The other technology demands interaction, thus thought, and sometimes a little learning is required. I also get to pull from the net what is interesting to me.

Why in the world would someone choose TV over the net?
Well, most people have been trained to be sheep. They like being sheep, and I don't expect a revolution anytime soon.
In the meantime those of us using and expanding our minds get in on the ground floor of a technology that will transform human society.

Consider yourself privleged.
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Old 04-19-2003, 05:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
I was at the library the other day and this male in his mid 20's was asking me to help him use the computer. He didn't even know how to use a mouse, I was shocked to say the least. I don't know how anyone could get so far in life without using a computer.
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Old 04-19-2003, 05:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
Location: Boston
i believe it, youj gotta think how many people live out in the boonies or in apalacia, not much access to anything out there. Also here in the city i see it myself, we just don't have the money. Sure people do illegal taps into the phone lines, but that only lasts about 2 months then they deny service and the people are blocked out. A lot of people can't even afford a computer, i'm lucky i saved up for mine when i was younger. But that doesn't mean they don't want to some/most just use the comps at school
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Old 04-19-2003, 05:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
Location: Indiana
A lot of it is because so many Americans are elderly. It's pretty unlikely that many people over 70 or so are just going to grab a computer and start chatting - at least in my experience. Like the article said, half the people who're offline are over 50.
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Old 04-19-2003, 06:13 AM   #12 (permalink)
Location: Seattle?
and 74% of statistics are made up on the spot.

... More than half of nonusers said they don't want Internet access or don't need it, a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found.
I'd have to say that's a potentially loaded question. There are days when I can't find something, I get fed up and "don't want Internet access". There are also loads of days when I'm supposed to be getting other things done, like cleaning the strange growths from the bathroom. I definitely don't "need" Internet access on those days.

On the other hand, I have no problem with the basic idea. Lots of poor or old people don't have computers or Internet access. Add in the poor spouses or siblings who can't even get to the computer because someone else's butt is planted in front of the screen all day, and you've probably got about half the country
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Old 04-19-2003, 06:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Austin, TX
they dont know what they're missing out on (porn mainly!)
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Darrel K Royal
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Old 04-19-2003, 06:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
Location: Pittsburgh
3,553 people who happened to pick up their phone to answer survey questions and some groups in the baltimore/dc is hardly representative of the population of the united states... i'd be afraid to extrapolate on this one. heck, even my 79 year old *grandmother* uses the internet.
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Old 04-19-2003, 06:23 AM   #15 (permalink)
hiredgun's Avatar
Don't forget that a large portion of America is not the America that we see most of the time, but rather a vast rural region in which people are slow to adopt new things and have little use for the internet anyway.
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Old 04-19-2003, 06:49 AM   #16 (permalink)
well that 42 percent havent been here
long live the hud
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Old 04-19-2003, 07:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
Originally posted by billege
I have basically replaced TV with the internet. One technology requires that I sit in front of it and react. That same technology pushes what others want me to react to at me.

The other technology demands interaction, thus thought, and sometimes a little learning is required. I also get to pull from the net what is interesting to me.

Why in the world would someone choose TV over the net?
Well, most people have been trained to be sheep. They like being sheep, and I don't expect a revolution anytime soon.
In the meantime those of us using and expanding our minds get in on the ground floor of a technology that will transform human society.

Consider yourself privleged.
Agreed. I hardly ever watch tv any more. I usually only watch sports and a select few shows.
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Old 04-19-2003, 08:23 AM   #18 (permalink)
Location: Nanaimo BC Canada
And here I thought EVERYONE used the internet... silly me.
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Old 04-19-2003, 08:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Location: Sexymama's arms...
Originally posted by genka
Or, maybe they don't know how to read... Maybe...


I don't think so, genka. The illiteracy in America is much much lower than that.

I think some people don't have computers, some older people have no interest (not needing one their whole lives, why start now) and some people are terminally intimidated.

I know I introduced a great uncle who never wanted a computer to the internet. Know the guy doesn't know how he got along without net access or a computer.
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Old 04-19-2003, 08:34 AM   #20 (permalink)
Helpher811's Avatar
Location: Someplace crazier
I still believe internet access is a new heighth of luxury in our society, but more importantly, there's not too much on there that really separates the economic classes of people.


Also, making it accessible through something for less-than-technically-inclined people, preferably with a nice remote-control, would make great strides into reducing that 42%.

But I really wonder if there's enough information, or proper organization that changes everyday behaviour.

As a product, the internet is barely more interesting than cable TV, has yet to prove to make some serious money for anyone, and requires some determined users to configure/maintain connections.

42% sounds right. A little more than half my friends really give a grape pit about PC's and such, unless it can make them money without too much time.

Or get more porn faster. Which isn't the greatest motivator to learn about webcaches and forum rules.......
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Old 04-19-2003, 08:52 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: Irish In Madrid
I moved to Madrid 9 months ago & i dont watch Tv anymore, partly due to the language barrier & partly due to hi-speed net over here. TV sucks ass, net rules.
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Old 04-19-2003, 09:32 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Location: City Gecko
Funny I thought the US would have high rates of internet activity.

Suppose we have to factor in the Baby Boomers (A lot of which have been slow to get "online") and their parents (as people now live longer) who would never get online. Both my olds are on it and almost all my US mates.
Makes me wonder what the stats are in other 1st world countries? hmm..
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Old 04-19-2003, 10:38 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Location: Denver City Denver
That's way too much porn going un-jacked-off to.
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Old 04-19-2003, 11:48 AM   #24 (permalink)
Location: NH
Beleive it or not I didnt even know what the internet was until 1999 when we got a computer at work. I saw all this www. whatever stuff and didnt even know what it was. Now I miss it if i go a few days without it.
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:12 PM   #25 (permalink)
Location: Sydney, Australia
Politics has intersted me for quite some time, and that was what drew me onto the web in the first place.

After exploring the web I realized that it was not somehow isolated from the wider political world. Learning that there was a political dimension to IT and the internet itself (anti-trust, open source, marketing spy cookies, etc) really encouraged me to learn as much as possible.

Although I wish others could see the social importance of being a little IT savvy, I do appreciate how my 85 year old grandmother can't see it and chastises me for not being "in the real world".

There were, after all, elements of her youth that I would never be able to conceptualize.

I would rather 20% of that 42% learn about cookies and spyware, than the whole 42% receive free Compaq plug-n-plays.
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:15 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Location: Austin, TX
by dont use, they could mean on a regular basis.

i can think of some people like that
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:21 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Location: tentative, at best
In other news, 42% of Americans are not addicted to porn.
If you want to avoid 95% of internet spelling errors:
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:23 PM   #28 (permalink)
Location: jersey
you know, over 60 I think over 70 percent maybe of american's don't believe in evolution... seems like a lot of people don't believe in something that has so much support
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:41 PM   #29 (permalink)
Location: Sydney, Australia
Funny thing is though dan, the nether regions of the internet is the only place where creationism gets put on the same footing as evolution.

How many of the 42% would have http://www.chick.com/ bookmarked if they went online tomorrow? Scary thought...
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:44 PM   #30 (permalink)
Location: 213
at times, i envy those people. once in a while i go on vacation, and don't use a computer for many days... and i actually don't miss it.
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:59 PM   #31 (permalink)
Location: Greater Vancouver
Originally posted by World's King
That's way too much porn going un-jacked-off to.
As if anyone would use the internet for something other than porn access
cheers to the motherland
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Old 04-19-2003, 12:59 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Location: IN, USA
Yeah there are reasons if you look at the broad scale... Heck there are lots of Americans that rarely use it!!
Gatecrasher: yeah i know that feeling... everytime i look at my computer.. I don't mind getting on it to talk with people or play game or something, but when you get away from it... it feels kinda nice. But i wonder if I'd still have that feeling if i never had a computer?

Comical note: 42%!?!?! Man.. all those countless days making up for those 42%... Wasted!!!!
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Old 04-19-2003, 01:10 PM   #33 (permalink)
Location: shittown, CA
That's very high when you consider less then 1 in a 100 are comfortable enough to use a computer. That and looking around at the complex I'm at, this does not surprise me at all.

42% is VERY high, aside from the fact it's as good say my 1in100 #. I pulled out of my ass!
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Old 04-19-2003, 01:36 PM   #34 (permalink)
Location: Leicestershire UK
And the 58% that do use it are made up of:

10% People sending emails to "Mike Smith 17 Orlando Drive Potunk Texas"

10% 'Hardcore' gamers - Playing CS and downloading WaReZ

10% People at work reading slashdot and looking at porn

10% 14 Year old kids using AOL chat rooms and Sub7

10% Hopeless dorks - Currently posting on alt.starwars.is.real or reading Buffy fanfiction

5% 1337 Linux users - Currently unable to use the internet properly as they cannot find the 'Internet Explorer' icon on their desktop

3% People that know what they are doing - And you would want to be around if you made your own private internet

I'll leave it up to you to decide on your group
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Old 04-19-2003, 02:38 PM   #35 (permalink)
Location: shittown, CA
SHIT! With TFP back up (read porn) I had forgotten to check out Slashdot!!

....awww shucks. I thought I was in the 3% group
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Old 04-19-2003, 04:26 PM   #36 (permalink)
I work for a nonprofit that brings computers to people with no money. A lot of people out there have an interest in getting computers and going online but don't have the resources to get it and to learn it. I've come accross a few people in the churches we have put labs in that have no interest, but the vast majority seem to.
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Old 04-19-2003, 09:00 PM   #37 (permalink)
it's jam
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Location: Lowerainland BC
I know quite a few people that don't have or don't use the internet. they seem intimidated by the technology
nice line eh?
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Old 04-19-2003, 09:49 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Location: Wisconsin...
I think it's cause people are scared to use it....tv is just plug in and go and either it works or doesn't.....Also some people don't like learning how to do anything new cause they figure it won't benefit them.
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Old 04-19-2003, 10:11 PM   #39 (permalink)
Location: lost
I think for older people, the "new" technology is intimidating. Also, they don't like seeming stupid in front of younger people, who would likely be teaching the course or helping them do stuff, so they just pretend like they're not interested. I may be making a huge generalization, but this has been the case in most of my observations and experiences. My step-grandfather really knew next to nothing about computers, and when he had trouble, he blamed the "stupid idiot" who was on duty in the nursing home computer center. The problem was with the ISP, not the computer lab, and the person on duty tried explaining that. My grandmother has never owned and will not buy a computer because 'it's too complicated.' If she wanted to, she could learn how to use one, but she's too worried to try. Then again, my mom's parents have a computer, and use it for the internet and email. They are less comfortable using a computer than many people I know, but they have figured out how to use their computer and the internet as much as they need it. I think most people though are too nervous and too worried about how they will look in front of others to try.

Then again, I'm not complaining... I just wish some of the other people on my campus would use the net less (so I can use more of the bandwidth, of course )
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Old 04-19-2003, 10:15 PM   #40 (permalink)
Location: California
Well, it is often easy to overlook either those in poverty (who make up a sizeable portion of the population) and those who live on farms and stuff. So I'm not too surprised that there are a lot of people who aren't like us.
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42%, americans, internet

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