Written by Göran Jacobson
Half a million Swedes, most of whom are over 76, have chosen to live completely without the internet. This shows a recent survey from the Internet Foundation in Sweden, which now expires and warns that these people risk being completely shielded from society.
This year’s survey of the Internet Foundation in Sweden (IIS) on how the network is used in Sweden shows that one in ten people in the age group 66-75 years never gets online.
Among those who are 76 years of age or older, the same number is just over four out of ten. However, the decision to disconnect is very conscious according to IIS, and is not primarily related to missing a computer, tablet or smartphone.
– They do not consider it interesting or important to be online. These people are at risk of becoming democratically staggered and that is a big problem, says Måns Jonasson, Digital Strategist at IIS, to the Swedish daily newspaper.
However, the number of people affected negatively is significantly greater than that. For the first time ever, IIS has added a whole new category to its survey, namely the term ”rare”.
More than 600 000 people are counted in that figure, even here a majority of these are over 76 years.
Here comes a difficult dilemma for all those living in digital exclusion.
Ten years ago, one could easily stand outside the internet and manage as a citizen in Sweden. But now that more and more authorities require mobile banking ID for identification and forms to disappear in favor of online forms, it becomes increasingly difficult.
IIS now proposes that the libraries get better equipped to play the role of bridge between this group and digital society.
IIS has established such a ”Digidel Center” at the Motala Library, where elderly people can get help with their digital contacts and services. The government allocated this summer’s money so that more libraries can start that type of service.
The screening dependence of the children
At the other end of the age spectrum, however, development is in the opposite direction. For the first time, IIS has also investigated the habits of the youngest Swedes, infants aged 0-12 months.
A quarter of the parents state that their children under the age of one are using the internet, two out of five among one year olds, and at the age of two, more than half of the internet uses every day. First of all, it is about video-taking and the conclusion is that the tablet has replaced the TV.
These information about the screening addiction of the youngest children has become a very hot issue, which IIS does not want to comment on.
Eeva Jacobson lives offline
”The digitized society scares me”
Eeva Jacobson, 83, lives in Linköping and belongs to the majority of elderly Swedes who chose to live without internet access.
”I’m doing well without the internet and I’m not a deaf interested in getting it either. The digitized society scares me, says Eeva Jacobson to Inblick.
”It’s scary that everything should be digitized. I can not understand why the internet should be so important to have and I’m not interested in getting it either, ”says Eeva Jacobson.
Eeva is 83 years old and lives in the chain house in Linköping, which she bought in 1973 together with her now-deceased husband.
She belongs to the majority of Swedes who are over the age of 76 and who chose to live without access to the internet. However, in Eeva’s case, we can track a small but noteworthy exception to that rule.
”If there is something I need to find out or help via the internet, I can always ask my children and grandchildren to help you get it,” says Eeva.
”The Old Way”
Eeva pays all her bills by car, but also on the ”old way”, as she expresses it, via the mail. She is not giving up the digital way of doing business.
”The digitized society is scary, I think. Everything is going to be digitized. I do not like it, she says.
During the recent electoral election, the proposal was made in part to ensure that all future elections should take place digitally.
According to these proposals, the current voting procedure would be scrapped, and instead, elections to parliament, county councils and municipalities would be via the internet with bank ID as identification. This is something Eeva strongly opposes.
”It’s terrible if it would be so. I do not like it. You should have the choice to vote how you want. Not digital. No, especially if you do not have the internet yourself and do not understand how to do online. I do not even have a computer here at home. It would not work for me to vote digitally.
Afraid of bank ID
Banks are running hard with their requirements for using bank ID for those who want full access to all banking services.
”I’m afraid of that with bank ID and digital banking. You have noticed how cheating and bluffing and everything possible is bad with a bank ID. The thieves enter their customers’ digital accounts and take their money, says Eeva Jacobson.