Handicap restricts ownership and use of computer

01/11/2005 14:00

People with functional hearing, sight or motor impairments lag behind the rest of the population as far as computer ownership and web access is concerned. Internet users with a handicap are online for the same length of time as internet users without a disability.

Computer ownership and web access among the disabled

Just over 8 percent of the Dutch population aged 12 years and older had severely impaired motor skills in 2003/2004. Just over 4 percent had a severe sight disability, and nearly 2.5 percent could not hear well enough to conduct a conversation.
The proportion of people with functional handicaps increases with age. Added to this, the older people are, the less likely they are to own and use a computer and have access to the Internet.

Persons with computer and web access at home (corrected for age), 2003/2004

Persons with computer and web access at home (corrected for age), 2003/2004

Nearly eight in ten Dutch people aged 12 years and older had a computer at home in 2003/2004. Seven in ten had access to the Internet at home. People with motor, sight and hearing impairments, however, were significantly less likely to have home access to a computer or the Internet. Even when age differences are corrected for, this difference remains.

Disability does not effect time spent on-line

Just over seven out of ten Dutch people used << link naar 1814k2.doc>> a computer regularly in 2003/2004. 
On average, computer users spent 15 hours a week at their computers. For people with an impairment the percentage of computer users was smaller. In addition, people with a motor and hearing disability also spent less time at the computer. Just over six out of ten people regularly used the Internet, for a total 7 hours a week on average. Internet users with functional impairments used the Internet for just as long, although fewer people with a disability used the Internet than people without a handicap.

Computer and Internet use (corrected for age), 2003/2004

Computer and Internet use (corrected for age), 2003/2004

After correction for age differences, comparable patterns emerge in computer use by people with and without a disability. For web access, on the other hand, users with a motor or hearing impairment in particular use the Internet for longer than people without such impairments. For people with these disabilities the Internet is apparently an important window to the world.

Ferdy Otten