Guess what almost every Swedish toddler has done?

Swedish internet use has grown by an average of two hours per week in one year and more than 90 percent of three-year-olds have been online at least once, a new study shows.

Guess what almost every Swedish toddler has done?
A Swedish toddler using a computer. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The 2016 edition of the Internet Infrastructure Foundation's (IIS) report on Swedish internet habits also shows that only seven percent of people in Sweden do not use the internet, with a lack of interest and poor ability with technology the most common explanations.

Swedes spent an average of 24 hours a week on the internet in 2016, up by around two hours on last year, and five hours more than five years ago.

And the younger the person, the more time they are likely to consume doing so. Swedes aged between 16 and 25 for example now average 40 hours online weekly, up from 36 hours last year.

Above all, the time spent using the internet outside of the home has grown, with examples like use at work, in school or en route to somewhere else increasing.

“More and more are being connected via their mobile or a tablet. The more people do that, the more time they spend online, because you can be connected everywhere,” IIS digital strategist Måns Jonasson told news agency TT.

While tablets were less common five years ago, there is now an average of one in every Swedish household. The rise of the devices is believed to be an explanation for the increase in younger children using the internet.

“I think it’s to do with it being a practical device with a large screen that is easier for small fingers to use compared to a telephone. Then, more apps and services have been released which are marketed towards kids and only work on tablets,” Jonasson explained.

Three years ago IIS figures showed that eight percent of two-year-olds and 20 percent of three-year-olds used the internet daily, but the numbers have now increased to 32 percent and 57 percent respectively.

Parents’ attitudes towards tablets are also changing, the research shows, with stigma about the possibility of the devices being harmful beginning to disappear.

The study also revealed that the internet continues to chip away at other media forms, with it now beating TV as the most important source of information for older age groups as well as the young.