Online or Offline? The Internet & Women

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: January 20, 2014

In the not so distant past (perhaps ten years ago), I lacked a lot of “wherewithal” and knowledge about how to use the internet. Yes, I was probably one of those folks that did not see a reason for being on-line. After all, I could always ask my daughters, or spouse, to look up things for me. I feared being on-line probably due to ignorance. I also lacked training on how to use the internet and simply felt there was no reason to learn.

Well, just as Bob Dylan sang “Times They Are A Changin,” I’m certainly not offline now. I’ve developed a dependence on using the internet not only as a productivity tool but also for my personal and professional life. And, it’s hard to imagine that I could live without it.

Today I engage in numerous internet activities like managing my finances; researching health issues; finding new recipes; engaging in social networking like Twitter, blogging and Facebook. And, of course, shopping on line! OMG, I just cannot believe the strong affinity I now have for the internet from e-mails to retail. Yes, it’s been an awakening to find so much useful information and entertainment. Here are some interesting facts about women and internet usage according to Pew Research Center information:

  • 82 percent of the US population used the internet.
  • In 2011, 80% of men and 76% of women used the internet
  • Younger women are more likely than younger men to be online; older men are more likely than older women to be online. 86% of women ages 18 to 29 are online, compared with 90% of corresponding men. However, 34% of men age 65 and older use the internet, compared with 21% of corresponding women.
  • Black women are more likely than Black men to be online: 60 percent of Black women are online, compared with 50% of Black men.

The Pew Research Center also reported that 15% of American adults are not internet users and there are a number of demographic groups of adults who were particularly unlikely to be online. Here are some of the factors why certain Americans are offline:

  • Age is one of the strongest factors related to non-internet use, followed by education and income. If you are an older American, you’re much less likely to use the internet than a younger person – 44% of those over age 65 do not go online, versus 17% of those 50-64, 8% of those 30-49 and only 2% of those 18-29. Overall, adults ages 65 and older account for almost halt (49%) of non- internet users by age group.
  • Income and educational attainment: If you have a college degree or live in a high income household, you’re much more likely to use the internet.
  • If you live in a rural area with limited broadband access, you’re less likely to use the internet that an urban or suburban resident
  • If you are disabled. 46% of adults with a disability do not use the internet.
  • Usability issues that are barriers: 32% say they don’t use the internet because it is not easy for them to use. They say it’s frustrating to go online, and many say they are worried about spam, spyware and hackers.

Personally, I had to overcome my own fears about using the internet. I admit that I came up with a lot of excuses for not wanting to go online. I made every excuse feasible like: it was too difficult to learn; I didn’t feel I had the skills to do it; I was too old to learn to use the internet. One day, I realized that I had to overcome my fears. Now, I’ve greatly benefited from understanding web usage. I’m no longer passively using it, I simply can’t live without it! With more free help and tools available than ever, I’ve surprised myself by the degree at which I’ve learned to use the internet.

I know you all have similar stories about the internet. Especially if you are that certain age at menopause or beyond. I’d love to hear your insights about how the web has shaped your lives. So, please Facebook me, Tweet me, e-mail me, comment, or send me your photo to stay in touch with me however you can. I’d love to hear about your online or offline experiences.