Research shows Scotland is nation of technophobes

Most adults would like to be more 'tech savvy' so they could deal with computer problems. Picture: Getty

Most adults would like to be more 'tech savvy' so they could deal with computer problems. Picture: Getty

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Scotland is a nation of technophobes who risk being left behind due to a lack of computer knowledge and skills, according to new research.

A survey has shown about a third of Scots adults – some 1.7 million people – cannot perform basic tasks such as changing a printer cartridge or replacing a laptop battery.

The polls suggests 1.8m people are leaving themselves at risk from cyber attacks, as 40 per cent admit they have no idea how to remove harmful viruses from their computers. Almost two-thirds say they would not feel confident upgrading a computer’s memory or adding storage to a laptop or PC, although these are very simple operations.

However, the study reveals that Scots are more tech-savvy than their counterparts across the UK, where a quarter of adults have confessed that fitting a new printer cartridge is beyond them. Four in ten cannot replace a laptop battery, while eradicating computer viruses stumps almost half.

A quarter of all Britons admit they struggle to use technology, despite five out of six owning a laptop or notebook computer, nearly 60 per cent having a PC and more than half possessing a tablet device.

The results reveal that even talking about technology makes more than a third of the population feel nervous, and more than two-thirds doubt they could carry out straightforward tasks.

But almost two-thirds admit they would like to be more “tech savvy”, as they believe this would allow them to fix household devices when they break and save them money at the same time.

It would also mean being able to get computer-based jobs done more quickly.

When it comes to the UK’s “tech status”, more than half of people believe being knowledgeable about technology will help leaders keep Britain from being left behind, and three in ten agree it will improve the country’s global reputation.

The report, commissioned by global computer hardware firm Crucial.com, warns that the UK risks being left behind because of poor technology skills.

Roddy McLean, a computer upgrade expert at East Kilbride-based Crucial.com, said: “Not everyone can be a Mark Zuckerberg or a Steve Jobs. However, basic information and communications technology skills can really help in life – not only with finding a job, but also with making home life easier.

“It’s great to see that the Scots are more tech-savvy than some of the other regions in the UK, but there is still room for everyone to improve their tech skills.

“One common problem that people suffer from today is a slow-running computer, and knowing how to fix this problem can save time and money.”

The results of the study come in the wake of a recent report by the same firm that revealed two-thirds of Britons believe UK politicians do not know enough about technology.

This is despite nearly three-quarters of respondents saying such expertise is an important attribute for a political leader and half that it makes them more effective at their job.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage was voted the least tech-savvy British leader, followed by Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and then Labour’s Ed Miliband.

Prime Minister David Cameron, a keen user of social media, came out top, with 28 per cent believing he is the leader most on top of the latest technology.

Poor knowledge of technology could have a big impact on how the country is run, according to Mr McLean.

“Something as simple as not remembering to log out of social networking sites or accidentally sharing confidential information could open the door to hackers and be detrimental to a politician’s reputation,” he said.

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