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Almost half of young Swedes have tried a 'digital detox'

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Almost half of young Swedes have tried a 'digital detox'
The average Swede spends three hours a day on their phone. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT
09:00 CET+01:00
The average Swede uses their smartphone for more than three hours each day – but most believe their lives are impacted positively by their screen time.

That adds up to 12 years of phone usage over the average life span.

In the 18-39 age group, almost 47 percent of respondents said they had attempted a 'digital detox' or a reduction of their screen time over the past year. They had done this in various ways, ranging from a complete break from their phones to simply deleting certain apps.

Most Swedes believe their phones, tablets, and computers improve their social lives, but many (22 percent) also think they use their phones too much, according to a survey carried out by Demoskop for Telenor.

More than one in five said that their phones distracted them from other things they needed to do.

"There's an idea that the digital world is something separate from life, as if they are two different things," said Elza Dunkels, a lecturer in online culture and behaviour at Umeå University.

She said that three hours of phone usage each day was "a lot of time, but a large part of that is used for tasks that were previously done in other ways, such as contact with family and friends or online banking."

The researcher added that it was important to give children and young people support regarding how they should develop their digital behaviour, and emphasized that smartphones can be helpful tools for many young people.

"We need discussions that are not moralizing and that are not based on old models for socializing and learning," said Dunkels. "For example, students with additional learning needs can get help through a computer or tablet. And it's been shown that those who don't have friends offline can perhaps find friends online."

Vocabulary

screen time – skärmtid

on the internet – på nätet

phone – (en) mobil

tablet – en datorplatta or en platta

tool – (ett) verktyg

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