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Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Thursday, 7 October 2010 11:57 UK
Concern about internet non-liners in Hampshire
Using the internet
9.2 million people in the UK have never used the internet

Despite the south east having the highest internet usage in the UK, outside London, there is concern about those still not online.

Of households in the south, 21% have no internet access, compared to 41% in the north east, and a UK average of 27%.

While 99% of 16-24s are online, just 40% of over 65s have used the internet.

Age Concern Hampshire has nine centres offering one-to-one IT training sessions to try and bring the older generation into the digital revolution.

Yvette Christian, acting assistant director, Age Concern Hampshire, said: "The one-to-one aspect is important - it can be geared to what the individual wants to achieve - emails, Skype, downloading digital pictures, or researching family history."

Ms Christian is in no doubt about the benefits to older people in developing IT skills.

She said: "It prevents social isolation and means they keep in touch with family and friends."

"The classes keep the brain active, give them something to look forward to - they enhance lives more than just having a computer."

Non-liners

While those who have taken the plunge have increased in recent years, there is still a sizeable proportion of older people still not using the internet.

Ms Christian said there are a variety of reasons behind why someone is a so-called "non-liner".

Money is a factor. Around the UK 31% of people earning less than £10,399 have never used the internet - compared to 4% of those over £41,600.

There is not only the cost of buying the computer (although many older people often receive cast-offs from friends or family) but also the monthly broadband bills.

However there are other issues preventing especially older people going online.

Ms Christian said: "There is some reticence in learning something new and many people are scared of being scammed online."

With a fifth of the population "non-line", there is concern they could be losing out on anything from cheaper utility bills, online shopping bargains to essential health information and services.

Ms Christian said: "They can miss out on everything. It's not very fair and it's definitely an issue."

First Click

In partnership with Race Online 2012, UK online centres, and the Post Office, the BBC is launching First Click, a major new media literacy campaign to encourage the estimated 9.2 million people in the UK who have never used the internet to take the first steps to get online.

BBC Radio Solent will have help and advice on getting online, with interviews and features throughout the programmes to encourage people to use the web and extra guidance for those already regularly online.

First Click runs from 18 October.

Internet usage statistics source: Office of National Statistics Opinions survey, Jan-Apr 2010.





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