A majority of Britons are not benefiting from the full commercial, social and cultural benefits of modern technology.
Research commissioned by BCS, the chartered institute for IT, revealed that only 20% of the population are "IT-savvy citizens". Most of those are male, aged 18-24, who are in full-time employment and educated to a degree level or above.
Although the public is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its use of IT, levels of savviness are lacking in such areas as the environment, with just one in six having calculated their carbon footprint online.
To improve this, the BCS has launched a campaign through a website and created a "working description" of what being information-savvy is based on the analysis of people's behaviour and attitudes.
Elizabeth Sparrow, president of BCS, said, "Unless all members of society are made aware of how they can access and use information in their daily lives, the significant proportion of Britons who are failing to realise the benefits of information technology will persist."