Around 10% of 17-19 year olds in Britain are lapsed Internet users: why have they stopped using the Internet given its prevalence and value in the lives of the majority of young people? This project aims to inform the UK's digital inclusion strategy.


In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the ways that young people are using the Internet and other new technologies. The use of the Internet can lead to many potential individual and societal benefits, including improving access to services and support, learning opportunities, and increasing possibilities to participate in society. However, there is significant diversity in the ways that young people access and use the Internet and these differences, specifically, the extent to which individuals are digitally included or excluded, has attracted a great deal of attention from policy makers, practitioners and academics.

In 2009, a nationally representative survey conducted as part of the Learner in their Context Study identified that around 10% of 17-19 year olds in Britain are lapsed Internet users, that is, young people who used to use the Internet but no longer do. This group of lapsed users are fascinating. Why do these young people stop using the Internet given its prevalence and value in the lives of the majority of young people? Furthermore, what can this group tell us about the relative successes and failures of the current digital inclusion strategy in Britain?

Through interviews with individuals identified as “lapsed Internet users” this research will aim:

  • To examine why young people stop using the Internet; and determine the extent to which this is due to reasons of digital exclusion or digital choice.
  • To explore the implications of non use of the Internet in the daily lives of these young people.
  • To use the data from the above two objectives to propose how the experiences of young people who no longer use the Internet can inform the digital inclusion strategy in the UK.

Lapsed Internet use in young people

Final Report

Eynon, R. and Geniets, A. (2012) On the Periphery? Understanding Low and Discontinued Internet Use Amongst Young People in Britain [900 KB]. Report for the Nominet Trust.


This research has been supported by the Nominet Trust (October 2011-August 2012).

Nominet Trust





  • Civic by default – when opting in is not a choice

    13 April 2012

    Rebecca Eynon and Anne Geniets discuss the topical issue of the UK's digital inclusion strategy, discussed at last week's OII workshop on low and discontinued Internet use by young people in Britain.


  • Are you middle of the road or enlightened?

    Date Published: 13 November 2012

    Source: thinkbroadband

    'It should be required reading for anyone involved in digital inclusion schemes.' BT's official business site refers to the OII’s study, sponsored by the Nominet Trust, of digital use by young people.

  • Digital solutions to tackle youth unemployment

    Date Published: 16 February 2012


    Dan Sutch of the Nominet Trust looks at opportunities presented by digital technology to address the challenge of youth unemployment. But young people not online need support too. He refers to OII findings and current research.