Online? No thanks say folk in Kirkcaldy ...

The findings of the Carnegie Trust's digital participation survey
The findings of the Carnegie Trust's digital participation survey
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A surprising number of people in town don’t use the internet. Now a new report into ’digital exclusion’ unearths some of the reaons why so many Fifers have yet to log on ...

A major survey conducted in Kirkcaldy could help identify ways to get non-internet users online.

The research by the Dumfermline-based Carnegie UK Trust and Ipsos MORI set out to identify reasons why so many Langtonians have yet to hook up to the web. It followed on from similar research in Glasgow, published in 2013.

Both Kirkcaldy and Dumfries were identified as towns with relatively high levels of digital exclusion.

In some areas of Kirkcaldy as many as 33 per cent are non-internet users.

For the Carnegie Trust’s study, 202 interviews were carried out – 164 were with non-internet users, and 38 with users.

What we found was that once people did start using it then their confidence grew and they would progress on to other things, such as paying bills

Douglas White

The Trust’s Douglas White said the research aimed to answer three critical questions – who is offline, why are they offline and what might be done to get them online?

“What we found was a confirmation from the data we picked up in Glasgow. One question we didn’t ask in Glasgow was if people were considering using the internet in future who would they like to help them do that?

‘‘What came through very strongly was that people would want friends and family to help them with it, which was interesting.”

Douglas said cost was one reason cited by those who were yet to go online.

“We shouldn’t underplay cost,” he said.

“If we forget about that it lets service providers off the hook.

“We should be pushing for cheaper prices for people.”

The team also found that some people are just not interested in going online and have identified it as a key issue to tackle.

“That’s why we also spoke to internet users, and two key things emerged - they first used the internet to look up information or content that they are interested in.

‘‘It wasn’t about the technology. It was about their hobby and personal interests.

“The other thing was communication – staying in touch with friends and family through things like social media and Skype.

‘‘What we found was that once people did start using it then their confidence grew and they would progress on to other things, such as paying bills.”

He added: “Making the internet personal to a user is key to tackling the problem of digital exclusion.”