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Quarter of Brits don’t know how to buy an app

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For many of us, the internet is a beloved tool that’s easy to access and endlessly useful.

But for millions of UK adults, the web poses serious challenges thanks to a dearth of digital skills.

A new study reveals that nearly one in four adults – around 12 million Brits – don’t have basic online skills, as reported by the Guardian.

It also highlighted how people in Wales are the least digitally skilled, compared to their counterparts in London, Scotland, and East Anglia, all of which ranked as the most digitally capable.

The research was based on a poll of 4,000 people aged 15 and older across the UK, conducted by Ipsos Mori.

Respondents were asked about five basic online skills: managing information, communicating, transacting, problem-solving, and creating.

Londoners were most able to do all five tasks, with 84% of respondents having full digital capability.

Bottom of the roster was Wales however, with a worryingly low 62% ranking with full digital competency.

The study also found that 27% of people can’t buy and install apps, and one in 10 aren’t competent using a search engine.

“We should be striving to be the most digitally forward nation. I think that’s going to be essential – the internet is not going to be less pronounced, it is going to get more,” says Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, who chairs the board of digital skills charity Go ON UK, which commission the study.

Lane-Fox continues: “The fact that millions of adults cannot do four things online we deem as the lowest level of entry to the internet not only holds them back, but also holds the country back.”

She adds: “I would argue that’s partly why we have the productivity challenges we do. The people who can benefit most from these things are also the most excluded.”

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Go ON UK also used the data to create a map of digital exclusion across the UK.

The highest levels of digital exclusion were recorded in Conwy, Anglesey, Pembrokeshire, the Shetland and Orkney islands, North Lincolnshire, Shropshire, and Northumberland.

Do you know someone who struggles with even the most basic computing tasks? Have they tried turning it off and on again? Let us know in the comments.

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