Almost 20 per cent of adult Australians have never used the internet

A new report issued by the Australian Communication and Media Authority has highlighted that many adult Australians are missing out on the benefits of digital media, because of a lack of skills, individual motivation and economic circumstances.

The report titled ‘Adult Digital Media Literacy Needs’ was commissioned by the ACMA to discover and understand the attitudes that lie behind the non-user digital media, specifically the internet and mobile phones.

Chris Chapman, ACMA chairman, discussed the results and how many Australians are falling behind when it comes to technology.

“This is a challenge because without the necessary skills and motivation, this group of adult Australians will be left behind as digital media becomes increasingly integrated into everyday social, cultural and economic life,” he said.

According to a earlier survey carried out by the ACMA a startling 17 per cent of adults aged 18+ have never used the internet and this is even higher among older Australians.

“A common characteristic of non-users of digital media and communications is that they have never been required to use technology on a day-to-day basis,” Chapman said.

“For example, they might be working outdoors, on the go, in a job that does not involve use of a computer, a stay-at-home parent or a retiree. Not having had the chance to be exposed and experiment online, these people lack an understanding of how the internet works, the commonplace language and terminology, and the ability to transfer skills across applications.”

The ACMA highlighted that the key to motivating people to increase their digital media literacy is to communicate the possible benefits of using digital media, especially to those who do not currently appreciate how the internet may enhance their lives.

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