Surfing the Web – Recreation or Resource? Exploring How Young People in the UK Use the Internet as an Advice Portal for Problems with a Legal Dimension

Posted: 23 Jun 2015

See all articles by Catrina Denvir

Catrina Denvir

University College London

Nigel J. Balmer

University College London; University College London - Faculty of Laws

Pascoe Pleasence

University College London

Date Written: June 22, 2015

Abstract

Internet use and access in the UK has increased rapidly in the last decade, with the concept of ‘information superhighway’ recognised as an axiom of Internet technology. Despite this, few studies have sought to investigate the incidence of use of the Internet as an advice resource outside of the health information arena. With an increasing impetus in the public sector towards the provision of online delivery mechanisms for civic orientated activities, including advice provision, it is timely to better understand the appropriateness of online advice seeking. Focusing on young people aged between 18 and 24 years, we investigated how much the Internet was used to obtain information about everyday problems with a legal dimension, who used it, how it was used and how successful respondents were in searching for information online. Data were extracted from a large-scale household survey of adults’ experience of problems with a legal dimension conducted across England and Wales (10,512 adult respondents). Results revealed significant growth in the use of the Internet to obtain information about such problems, rising from 4% in 2001 to around 18% in 2008. The responses of the 18–24 year olds to the survey illustrated that despite having comparatively high levels of Internet access, this age group utilised it to a lesser degree than similarly ‘connected’ age cohorts, and were less successful when doing so. This study highlights aspects of the second digital divide, going beyond access to explore use and outcomes of use. Implications for the future of the Internet in providing information and advice for young people, are discussed.

Keywords: Internet, Advice, Information, Legal problems, Legal services, Young people

Suggested Citation

Denvir, Catrina and Balmer, Nigel J. and Pleasence, Pascoe T., Surfing the Web – Recreation or Resource? Exploring How Young People in the UK Use the Internet as an Advice Portal for Problems with a Legal Dimension (June 22, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2621886

Catrina Denvir (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Nigel J. Balmer

University College London ( email )

Bidborough House
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

University College London - Faculty of Laws ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Pascoe T. Pleasence

University College London ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
137
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations will be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information