UK brushes up its IT skills

Survey: Britain is on the way to becoming a nation of computer buffs, but a significant proportion of the population is still being left behind

Research published by the British Computer Society (BCS) on Monday suggests that the UK now boasts a decent level of IT literacy, but that a quarter of the population are still trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide.

The BCS surveyed over 2,000 UK adults to assess their IT experiences and opinions. It found that around 75 percent of the population had used a PC at some stage in their lives. Internet access was the most popular application, followed by email and word processing.

Nearly 60 percent of those questioned had a PC at home, while 31 percent had access at work and 12 percent at another location. Over a quarter of respondents had no access to a computer at all.

"It is clear that not everyone is experiencing the benefits of computing, despite the government's aim to ensure every home has access to a PC," said David Clarke, chief executive of the BCS.

"This is an area which must be addressed," he said.

The BCS also found that 82 percent of those questioned thought computers had been beneficial to society, with just 6 percent taking an opposite view.

The survey's findings weren't all positive, though; 72 percent said they were concerned about the amount of "immoral material" on the Web.

Barely half of those interviewed said they were capable of overcoming basic problems encountered when using a PC, and 45 percent of those surveyed said they felt left behind by the rapid pace of technological progress.

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