Older Swedes left behind in web surge

Older Swedes left behind in web surge
Almost half of Swedes feel left out of the information society, with older citizens most likely to report a sense of being left behind.

The Internet Infrastructure Foundation (Stiftelsen för internetinfrastruktur – .SE) said the latest edition of its annual report that internet access and usage has begun tapering off, while the use of smartphones and tablet computers is still increasing. 

The report measured what the authors called digital isolation (digitala utanförskapet). While the majority, six of ten, said they felt completely or mostly part of the information society, 40 percent said they did not feel they partook. Among older Swedes, aged 76 or more, that feeling of being an outsider went up to 55 percent of survey respondents. 

The report authors said age, education, and income divided survey respondents.

"It shows how society is being pulled apart. There is a middle class that has the confidence and the vocabulary to fight for its interests and that today demands the internet," Åsa Linderborg, culture editor at leftwing tabloid Aftonbladet, told the TT news agency on Wednesday. 

Two years ago, .SE launched a campaign with various state agencies to get another half million Swedes connected to the internet by 2013. That goal was not reached. The report showed that about 200,000 new internet users had got online since. 

"Society is quite complex and there are developments all the time," .SE spokeswoman Pamela Davidsson told TT. "I think that when old people start using a computer and the internet, they still feel like they fall behind."

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