Those who do not use the Internet are less “networked” in their social lives, less trusting, and more concerned about their privacy being breached. These traits suggest that non-users as a group have a higher level of concern about interacting with others and fewer contacts with others. This suggests that they might be less attracted to the Internet than those already online because they feel less benefit can result from their being able to communicate efficiently and well with others. Much of this wariness of non-users is not surprising because the people who make up the non-user cohort, and particularly non-computer users, are from segments of the population such as older Americans, minorities, and those with less education that tend to be more suspicious and more concerned about their privacy than Americans overall.
Some 20% of non-computer users say they have hardly any one or no one to turn to for help, compared to a mere 8% of Internet users who say that. A similar pattern holds true for whether Internet users and non-computer users visited with a friend or relative on any given day. Some 60% of non-computer users say they had visited with friends and relatives, compared with 72% of Internet users. Non-Internet users are more likely to believe that people will generally try to take advantage of them if given the opportunity—45% of non-users say that as opposed to 33% of Internet users.
Given non-users’ lack of trust and concern about privacy, it makes sense to think that some users aren’t online because they fear for their privacy. 8% of current non-users who were once online left because of privacy concerns, and 54% of non-users believe the Internet is a dangerous thing.