Journal Article

Carers’ Perspectives on the Internet: Implications for Social and Health Care Service Provision

Janet Read and Clare Blackburn

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 7, pages 1175-1192
Published in print October 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch244
Carers’ Perspectives on the Internet: Implications for Social and Health Care Service Provision

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To date, little is known about carers’ experience of using online services and informa­tion. Data are reported from the Carers Online national postal survey of 3,014 adult carers and from an assisted access study involving 60 other adults who had been given training and cost-free Internet access at home. Half of the survey respondents reported having used the Internet on at least one occasion for a range of purposes related to both caring and other aspects of their lives. Major barriers to use identified by both users and non-users included lack of access to equipment and the Internet, difficulties with equipment and systems, cost, limitations on time, and lack of interest and skill. Fourteen per cent of the whole sample said that nothing would encourage them to use the Internet. All of the assisted access group used the Internet for a similarly wide range of purposes. Key benefits identified included convenience, flexibility, speed and range of information available, while problems with equipment and systems and time constraints were major barriers to effective Internet use. Findings suggest that while direct Internet access has some benefits for some carers, it should currently be only one of a range of ways of meeting their information needs.

Keywords: Carers; information; Internet; digital divide

Journal Article.  7563 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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