Even with today’s reliance on computers and mobile phones, over half (53%) of the British public feel that modern technology has become too complicated, according to the latest report from PayPal, the online payments provider.
The figures from the report suggest the level of technology understanding needs to be raised if ‘UK Plc’ is to keep up with the rest of the world. The age-old problem of setting a video recorder still exists for one in three for example, while DVDs offer a more complex challenge with four in five (77%) not feeling confident to set one to record.
The majority, almost two thirds (61%), use only four features on their mobile phone – calls, text messages, alarm clock and camera – while two-fifths didn’t know if their mobile phone has a camera function.
Despite this seeming ignorance of technology, the findings demonstrate it is increasingly pervading our everyday lives with 70% now regularly using a computer; almost three quarters (74%) a mobile phone; and 77% a DVD player or recorder. There has, however, been less widespread adoption of the latest mobile technologies, with a quarter (27%) regularly using an MP3 player and just 3% a BlackBerry.
Not surprisingly though, young people were more technology literate than older generations – 93% of 16 to 24 year olds regularly using a computer compared with 42% of those aged over 55. But women lag behind men in their use of technology with only two thirds (66%) of women regularly using a computer compared with 74 per cent of men. A third more men than women regularly use an MP3 player. Mobile phones, however, are equally popular with both sexes.
And the extent to which people have adopted technology also differs greatly across the UK. Only 52% of people in Wales regularly use a computer and only 58% could say the same of a mobile phone compared with Greater London, where the proportion was 81% and 83% respectively.
PayPal has launched a website dedicated to testing and improving the UK’s tech knowledge or ‘TQ’.