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May 23, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 12:10pm

Silver surfer surge as net use growing among over-75s

News: Despite this surge, nearly two-thirds of the age group has never used the internet.

By CBR Staff Writer

Internet usage among those aged 75 years and above in the UK has been on the rise since 2011, according to data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The percentage of UK adults aged 75 years and over using internet in recent months rose to 38.7% in 2016, compared to 19.9% in 2011.

Pete Lee from the Office for National Statistics Surveys and Economic Indicators Division said: "While we have seen a notable increase in internet usage across all groups in recent years, many older and disabled people are still not online, with two-thirds of women over 75 having never used the internet."

This age group accounts for 9.5% of the population aged over 16 years in the country.

"Age is a factor as to whether an adult has used the internet. Since the survey began in 2011, adults aged 75 years and over have consistently shown the lowest rates of internet use," the statistic office said.

The ONS revealed almost all adults aged 16 to 24 years were recent internet users compared to the older age group.

The office said: "Although recent internet use is notably lower in the older age groups, the proportion of adults aged 75 years and over who had never used the internet decreased from 76.1% in 2011 to 56.5% in 2016."

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Also, persons aged 75 years and above recorded the highest rate of lapsed internet users in 2016 at 4.8%, compared with only 0.2% of adults aged 16 to 24 years.

The ONS said: "This suggests that, although more adults aged 75 years and over start using the internet, they are not necessarily continuing to use the internet."

The study found the largest rise in recent internet use among women aged 75 and over, increasing by 169% from 2011. But only 32.6% of them were recent users in 2016.

The data also showed that 25% of disabled people in the country still remain as non-users of Internet. In 2015, it was 27.4%.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said it was "shocking" to note that 25% of disabled people had never used the net as it showed a sharp digital divide.

Atkinson was quoted by BBC as saying: "Digital access has the power to make life cost less. Many people go online to compare the best consumer deals and offers.

"Life costs more if you are disabled, from higher energy bills to specialist equipment. Scope research shows these costs add up to on average £550 per month."

ONS said nearly 46 million people, who account for 88% of all UK adults, accessed the net in the last three months compared to 86.2% in 2015.

However, net usage in the first three months of this year showed that 91% of the residents in London used Internet regularly.

Northern Ireland had seen the largest increase of 13.2% in recent internet use since 2011. However, the region is still has the lowest recent usage internet at 82%.

ONS noted little difference in the rates of internet use between men and women in all age groups below 65 years of age.

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