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Social Trends Spotlight on e Society

Social Trends Spotlight on e Society

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Published by: lsemediapolicy on May 05, 2011
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Social Trends Spotlight On: e-Society
Social Trends Spotlight On:e-Society
This article is the first Social Trends ‘Spotlight On’ publication and aims to give an overview of e-Society covering:
 Internet take up
 the issue of Internet exclusion
 uses of the Internet including social networking
 the use of the Internet by governmentOn 6 August 1991 Sir Tim Berners-Lee put the first ever website on the Internet. The followingtwenty years saw the Internet and World Wide Web become phenomena; changing the way wework, learn, shop and even make friends. The World Wide Web is also changing language with ‘togoogle’ becoming a recognisable verb. According to the UN, 1.6 billion people were online by theend of 2008, equating to almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the world’s population (UN, 2010).The World Wide Web empowers individuals by enabling them to access or create knowledgeonline, removing control of information from governments and the media (Krotoski, 2010). During aspeech given to a Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in 2010 on the ‘nextage of government’ David Cameron stated that the Internet could even change how governmentworks, improving transparency, increasing choice and encouraging greater accountability.On the other hand, concerns have been raised over privacy and security as personal information iscaptured and manipulated online (Krotoski, 2010). There are also concerns over the so-called‘digital divide’ – where some people are disadvantaged by lack of access to the Internet.The new Spotlight On series has been developed following demand for more responsive socialreporting. This first edition will be followed by a new Social Trends e-Society article which will bepublished on 11 November 2010 and contain more detailed information on access to the Internetand other digital technologies, Internet security and crime.The
is a global system of interconnected computer networks. The Internet carries a vastarray of information resources and services, most notably the inter-linked hypertext documents ofthe
World Wide Web
(www) and the infrastructure to support electronic mail.
Office for National Statistics
Social Trends Spotlight On: e-Society 
Key Points
Internet access and the ‘digital divide’ between households
 Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of households in the UK had Internet access in 2010
 Just over a quarter of households (26 per cent) in the lowest 10th income decile had Internetaccess compared with nearly all households (96 per cent) in the highest 10th
 Access was lowest among households with a single individual over the state pension age (37per cent) and lone parent households (63 per cent)
 Access was highest in households made up of couples with children (88 per cent)
Social networking and other activities
 The activity carried out by the highest proportion of people in the UK was sending and receivinge-mails with 90 per cent of people who had used the Internet in the last 3 months carrying outthis activity
 There has been a growth in social networking between 2007 and 2009 with the percentage ofpeople having their own profile increasing from 21 per cent to 40 per cent for men and from 22per cent to 48 per cent for women
 However, people appear to be becoming more conscientious about online privacy with eight inten users, in 2009, having profiles which can only be seen by ‘friends’
 In 2008, nearly a third (32 per cent) of parents in the UK were very worried that their childrenmight become a victim of online grooming
Education and work
 In 2009, 64 per cent of children aged 5 to 15 had used the Internet for schoolwork or homeworkat least once a week
 In 2009, 10 per cent of workers worked at or from home using a telephone and computer
 The average weekly value of Internet retail sales in Great Britain was £446.1 million in July2010, accounting for 8.0 per cent of total retail sales
 In 2010, just over half (52 per cent) of UK adults who had used the Internet to buy or ordergoods or services in the 12 months prior to interview had purchased clothes or sports goods
 Based on a Eurostat measure of 20 basic public services, the UK had 100 per cent publicservice online availability in 2009. This compares with the EU-27 average of 74 per cent
 In 2009, 43 per cent of individuals in the UK who had used the Internet in the last three monthshad interacted with public services via the Internet in the last three months, compared to 46 percent of individuals across the EU-27
Office for National Statistics
Social Trends Spotlight On: e-Society 
Internet access and the ‘digital divide’ between households
In the UK the first official estimate of household Internet access came from the 1998 FamilyExpenditure Survey with just less than one in ten households (9 per cent) reporting home accessto the Internet (ONS, 2006). From 2006 onwards household Internet access in the UK has beenmeasured by the ONS Opinions Survey (formally the ONS Omnibus Survey), as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Household Internet access
United KingdomPercentages
Source: Opinions Survey (ONS, 2010a)
In 2010, nearly three-quarters of households in the UK (73 per cent) had Internet access,compared with 57 per cent of households in 2006.In 2009, 90 per cent of those households with Internet access had some form of broadbandconnection, compared with just 69 per cent in 2006 (ONS, 2009a).
Broadband Internet
has been around in various forms for over a decade. The introduction ofbroadband has allowed people to access the Internet at faster speeds and to use the Internet andphone at the same time.
Office for National Statistics

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