The most common reason given in the survey, carried out by the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (Stiftelsen för internetinfrastruktur—.SE), is a lack of interest in taking a ride on the information superhighway.
Other, more concerning reasons for the lack of internet use among elderly Swedes include that it is too expensive or that people with visual or physical impairments find it too difficult.
Nearly 60 percent of over-50 Swedes who don’t use the internet have low levels of education, and the majority are women, the study found.
Curt Persson, chair of the National Pensioners’ Organisation (Pensionärernas riksorganisation – PRO), believes increased costs as one of the biggest problems for older Swedes who can’t or haven’t learned how to use the internet.
“This is a big issue and it can be very costly if you can’t use the internet,” he told the TT news agency.
“It’s not only that people are left out, but they also have to pay extra to conduct business with a bank, for example.”
Persson explain that extra measures must be taking to help older Swedes keep up with changes in society.
“Society is changing. If you want a society that works and a number of services to be made easier, then citizens must also be able to use them and it has to be worth the effort,” he said.
PRO arranges a number of study groups and courses on IT use and has received support for doing so from software company Microsoft.
Persson suggested that, in the future, allowing pensioners to purchase computers at a discounted price would offer them new possibilities.
“If you now want to change society to one where internet communication is an option for everyone, you ought to perhaps think in terms that people did a few years ago when employees were got training and were offered subsidies to buy personal computers,” he said.