The vast majority of Swedes use the internet and its services. Even if a great deal is the same for everyone, digital life looks different for different people. Many also take measures to protect themselves from the risks that exist online.
In Sweden in 2022, more people than ever use the internet's services on a daily basis in their everyday lives. During the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, there was talk of a “shock digitalisation”, and we see that many of those who were then forced online have embraced a variety of e-services. A third of Swedes have shifted their clothing purchases to mostly online, as well as Christmas gifts and presents in general. The use of electronic identification has increased substantially – in one year, the percentage who use mobile Bank-id on a daily basis has risen from 47 to 71 percent.
Internet users face challenges in the form of complicated technology, concerns for their personal integrity and of being affected by various cybercrimes. At the same time, we see that many are taking various measures to protect themselves from the risks that exist. A third of users often consider and are aware of the digital traces they leave behind on the internet, and as many as 8 out of 10 protect their privacy in a variety of ways.
The Internet for Benefit and Pleasure
Almost all internet users use social media, and about half of them post their own material on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Just over 4 out of 10 use social media to follow different brands and companies. The vast majority also send messages to each other, primarily via text but a smaller proportion via voice and video.
Most use video streaming services, where SVT Play and Netflix are the dominant choices. Over the course of the year, SVT Play has been the predominant choice, although Netflix attracts slightly more viewers per day and week. When it comes to audio streaming services, Spotify is by far the largest for both music and podcasts. In addition, the service is the second largest when it comes to audiobooks.
The Internet for Different People
There are other online activities that far fewer take part in. Cryptocurrency trading has doubled in a year, but still only engages 6 percent overall. Cryptocurrency traders are almost exclusively men – 10 percent of men have engaged in this activity, compared to just 2 percent of women.
Something that significantly more men do is watching porn online – 48 percent compared to 13 percent of women. However, it has become more common for single women to access online porn, as well as for men who are in a relationship. Overall, close to one in three internet users state that they watch porn online – younger people to a greater extent than older people, and most of all, those born in the 90s.
Almost 6 out of 10 internet users play games on, for example, a computer, mobile phone or games console. Both men and women engage in games, but it is more common among men born in the 1970s and later. In older generations, on the contrary, it is more common for women to play.
The Internet for all Ages
Basically all children use the internet. They believe that they learn new things there, and improve their English. Children also interact with each other on other social media platforms than the adults to a large extent. Second only to Youtube, Roblox is the most commonly used platform among elementary school children. Almost everyone who uses Roblox was born in the 2010s.
But children are also more vulnerable online – the percentage of children aged 12–19 who have been exposed to cyberbullying has doubled from 9 percent last year to 17 percent. Girls are exposed to online abuse more often than boys. Twice as many girls have been victims of unwanted contact attempts online, and three times more girls than boys have received offensive images from people they do not know.
The very oldest in society are still the group that uses the internet the least of all, although they too have increased their use of digital services. The elderly are limited by, among other things, high costs, complicated technology and a concern about being scammed online.
The Internet in the Future
In this year's survey, the Swedes also had the chance to give their input regarding the smart gadgets of the future. In their own words, they describe an existence that often becomes simpler and more comfortable when everything becomes more connected. Whether all these ideas of the digital future will come true we cannot know, but it is clear that there is widespread technology optimism. Most people also seem to agree that connected technology is becoming even more extensive and that an ever-increasing part of our lives will be stored online.
As a result, there remains a great need for conscious and safe internet users. On a positive note, this year we see that many are making active choices to protect themselves from the risks of life online. It may be about actively choosing to restrict cookies on websites, thinking about how targeted ads work and restricting in various ways what the apps in mobile phones are permitted to do.
The key to a safe and secure internet for everyone continues to be knowledge. It is in that spirit that The Swedish Internet Foundation operates.
About the Survey and The Swedish Internet Foundation
The Swedish Internet Foundation is an independent, business-driven and non-profit organization. We work for an internet that positively contributes to people and society. We are responsible for the internet's Swedish top-level domain .se and manage the operation and administration of the top-level domain .nu. The revenues from the business operations finance a number of initiatives aimed at enabling people to make the best use of the internet, and stimulate knowledge sharing and innovation with an internet focus.
The Swedes and the Internet is a study conducted by The Swedish Internet Foundation. With this survey, we want to contribute facts and insights on how the use of the internet in Sweden is developing. We want to provide the conditions for the digitalisation of Swedish society and the business community to take place on an informed basis
The data collection has been carried out by Novus on behalf of The Swedish Internet Foundation during January–February 2022. The two main studies consist of 3,129 and 3,786 interviews, respectively. The result is weighted against Statistics Sweden in terms of gender, age, education and geography. Read more about method and sample here (in Swedish).