Report: Australian attitudes to getting online
Our new consumer research report showing attitudes towards getting online in Australia.
The internet has become an integral part of everyday life, from staying connected with friends and family, to paying for bills and accessing government and health services. But, not everyone in Australia is benefitting from getting online equally.
We surveyed 2,000 everyday Australians from all walks of life to understand people’s attitudes to getting online, what is stopping them from doing more and what support is working.
It’s hard to keep up with tech changes
We found that keeping with the rapid changes in tech is a big concern for many people.
Keeping up with tech changes infographic.
63% I am not confident in my ability to stay up to date
16% I can’t keep up with tech changes
1 in 4 I need more support to keep up with changes in technology
1 in 5 I feel overwhelmed with constant changes in technology
1 in 5 people said they felt overwhelmed with constant changes in technology, with 16% stating they are not able to keep up.
Two thirds of those surveyed were not confident in their ability to stay up to date, with 1 in 4 saying they need more support to keep up.
Cost of living is impacting affordability
Our research showed that affordability is a key challenge preventing people from getting online, and rising cost of living pressures is making this worse.
Significantly, 1 in 5 people surveyed said they had to choose between paying for the internet or phone or other essential items like food or housing.
Young people in particular are at risk, with 77% of 18-24 year olds saying cost of living increases have affected their ability to get online. This compares to 46% of the broader population.
Cost of living and Getting online infographic.
46% Rising cost of living has affected my ability to get online
13% I struggle to afford my internet bill
1 in 5 I have to decide between paying for the internet or phone and other essential bills like food or housing
1 in 10 I can’t afford to top up my phone data when it runs out
Some are struggling more than others
While many Australians are able to get online with ease using the device of their choice, there are thousands that can’t because they don’t have the basic skills, money or confidence to do so.
Our research showed that some people were more likely to feel overwhelmed with the constant changes in technology than others. More than 1 in 4 people with disability and people who didn’t speak English at home reported feeling overwhelmed by tech changes. Other groups more at risk of feeling overwhelmed by tech changes were First Nations peoples (43%), women (21%), people born overseas (23%), and young people aged 18 – 44 years old (19%).
Some need more support to keep up.
I need more support to keep with with changes in technology:
- 46% I am Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- 27% I don’t speak English at home
- 24% I live with disability
- 28% I am over 65 yrs old
- 26% I am 55-64 yrs old
- 25% I am female
70% 65+ year olds Not confident I can stay up to date
I feel overwhelmed with constant changes in technology:
- 43% I am Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- 21% I am female
- 29% I live with disability
- 23% I was born overseas
- 26% I don’t speak English at home
- 19% I am 18-44 yrs old
Many people who lack digital skills want support to turn their digital life around. Around one quarter of all survey respondents across all age groups said they needed more support to keep up-to-date with changes in technology.
What this research tells us
Ensuring all Australians can get online is essential to increasing social and economic participation.
Together, this research indicates that while many people use the internet for everyday tasks, they may still not feel comfortable or confident getting online independently as the digital world around them changes. It also illustrates the barriers to getting online, including the significant impact of cost.
Learning to use technology and the internet can enable people to stay connected with loved ones, apply for a job, find a rental property, receive an online education, participate in telehealth consultations and bank online.
Once someone is empowered to confidently acquire digital skills, they are more likely to become digitally included and able to benefit from everything the digital world has to offer.
This research was commissioned by Good Things Foundation Australia for Get Online Week 2023. Read more about how this survey was conducted in our full report.