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Young people in Sweden more likely to question information online

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Young people in Sweden more likely to question information online
File photo: CandyBoxImages/Depositphotos
07:50 CEST+02:00
A new report shows that almost everyone in Sweden has access to the internet, with 80 percent using social media and more than half logging onto Facebook every day. But when it comes to viewing the information they read online critically, it's the younger age groups who are most aware of 'fake news'.

Four out of five Swedes use social media, with Facebook the most popular channel.

And it's the younger generation that is most skeptical about the information they receive via the internet, and they are also more likely to have received education in source criticism. That's according to the annual report from the Internet Foundation in Sweden (IIS), which looked at Swedes' internet habits.

The use of social media is continuing to increase, with Facebook the favourite option, used by 74 percent of Swedish internet users. More than half use Facebook daily.

This year, IIS asked questions about source criticism and users' attitude to the information they share on the internet, amid growing concern about the spread of so-called 'fake news' online.

According to the survey, young people are more source-critical than older generations, with youngsters saying that they have learned how to assess the validity information on the internet.

"Young people are often blamed for sharing without thinking. But we see that it's the over 60-year-olds who share the most on Facebook. At the same time, people in that group have a lower degree of source criticism," said Måns Jonasson, a digital strategist at IIS.

READ ALSO: Fake news is altering perception of facts, Swedish survey shows

Another of the report's most striking findings was that, for the first time ever, some online services are being used by all members of certain age categories.

In the 12-25 age group, 100 percent of those questioned said that they used Youtube at least occasionally. And among 16-25-year-olds, everyone asked said they used the Internet to chat to friends and to listen to music.

"It is interesting that we're beginning to see what we call hundred percent levels. We haven't seen this kind of figure before, where there are services that reach everyone within a certain age group," said Jonasson.

The report also showed that half of all Swedes pay for music on the internet and almost half (46 percent) pay today to watch films online. Last year, that figure was 38 percent and two years ago just 28 percent.

The use of instant messaging, voice, and video calls over the internet has also increased significantly.

And overall, almost 100 percent of Swedes have access to the internet.

"There we can say that we have largely succeeded in digitalization in Sweden. We no longer believe that there is anyone who can not use the internet because they don't have the option to. Those who do not use the internet are the very oldest who have made an active choice," explained Jonasson.

READ ALSO: Sweden threatens action to stop Facebook 'hate and lies'

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