That interweb thing, It may just catch on.

Posted: July 20, 2010 in computers, technology
Tags: , , ,

According to Stats Canada 80% of Canadians aged 16 and older use the Internet. (the stats didn’t deal with the portion of the population under 16) So what’s stopping the other 20% of people over 16? One Word. Fear. It’s a very big part of it.

People hear about the problems and potential risks and get scared. Having their identity or personal info stolen,Viruses, adware, malware, etc., and they steer clear of the entire online world. I know i’ve helped drag a few dinosaurs into the silicon age who had so many preconceptions about the dangers that it would have been easier to convince them to saw off their own arm than sign up with an ISP.

Which brings us to another reason not to be on the internet: Money.  Some people don’t have the money to buy a computer.  It’s sad but true that there are still people in Canada (dealing with Canada only since thats the stats I was perusing at the time) who can’t afford to buy a computer of their own let alone pay the monthly fees for an ISP, even dialup.  Did you know Canadians pay more on average than most of the developed countries and even at that, we have some of the slowest internet speeds?

As of May 2010, 93% of people using the internet use it for email and nearly 14% are using it for making telephone calls. The highest other uses are still searching for medical information (we like to self-diagnose it seems), weather information, and new & sports.

What about kids? For those under 16 the percentage is much higher, but the stats from Stats Canada did not include those numbers. Other regional stats indicated the number to be 93% for children aged 12-17, with most of those having internet available in their bedrooms. Kids are fearless but fortunately they are being taught in school about the dangers lurking behind every virtual corner so most are at least aware of the issues and armed against them.  But don’t rely on your kids learning about internet safety entirely in school, make sure you take a vested interest in what they are doing and who they are talking to.  Kids are quick to accept and adopt new technologies – even ones they may not fully understand, but they quickly learn about them.  Just make sure they are getting ALL the info they need.

We need the same kind of teaching to be available for the older generation too. Some of them hear about the horror stories about so-and-so getting duped by an internet scam and run away from the keyboard before ever logging on.  There are some continuing learning courses available but there is no push to get the older generations onto the web and involved, even though it could be helpful to their minds and allow them to stay in touch better and maybe even stay self-sufficient longer.  I’ve often times tried to convince my father-in-law that he needs to start writing down his stories and memories so they can be passed on and remembered, and what better way to do that than to type them out and email them.

Sure the internet can be a big scary place, but it can also be a great place to reconnect and stay current and stay informed.  Do what you can to encourage your kids, but don’t forget to encourage your parents to get involved and get connected as well.

One last thing I noticed in the Stats Canada report is that it seems the higher education level you have the more you use the internet. So, smart people like to forward bad jokes and surf for porn too?  Huh, who knew.


  1. Mark says:

    Hmm. Somewhat concerned that you’re conflating having a higher education with being more intelligent. Sometimes there’s an inverse relationship.


    • tcg says:

      Oh no, not at all – i should have put quotes around “smart people” in the closing statement.
      I fully agree that a person’s level of education is not necessarily related to their intelligence. Often it’s money, personal choice, or numerous other circumstances that precludes people from continuing their formal education but that does not in any way indicate a lack of intelligence. I personally don’t put a lot of stock in degrees, diplomas or official documents as the sole measure of intelligence – their are plenty of well-papered people in the world that illustrate that point.

      thanks for reading, and thanks for the comment.


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