Over 60 per cent of Swedish young people today have a smartphone, and in addition to telephoning and messaging, they use them to communicate via social media and e-mail, and to play games.
Each year, Nordicom at Gothenburg University carries out a nationally representative survey of media use among the Swedish people. Media Barometer 2011 (Mediebarometern 2011) presents the results of the most recent survey.
"Smartphones have contributed to an already notable increase in the use of computer games, particularly among young people," says Professor Ulla Carlsson. "Online game-playing has more than doubled during the past year alone. Sixty per cent of 9- to 14-year-olds play one or more computer or video games the average day action and adventure themes predominate."
Smartphones are also used to keep up on the news. As a consequence of more differentiated media use, news listening and watching via traditional media have shown a slight decline in recent years, particularly among young people. That decline appears to have leveled off now. Most owners of smartphones choose to follow the news in web editions of daily newspapers.
Use of social media is considerably more passive than active
Nearly 90 per cent of Swedish young people, aged 15 to 24, use one or more social media the average day, which is a considerably greater share than those who watch television (75 %). This pattern is quite different from media behavior in other age groups, where television viewing is much more common.
Young people also spend much more time on internet than other age groups. Forty-three per cent report spending more than three hours on the web the average day, and 23 per cent spend more than five hours. The most common activity is visiting and communicating in social networks like Facebook (89 %), followed by listening to music (74 %), watching video clips (65 %) and listening to and/or reading blogs (34 %). Most internet use is passive rather than active; few young people post their own videos (4 %) or write their own blogs (9 %). Considerably more, however, take part in social networks like Facebook (68 %).
Stability as well as change in use of traditional media
Use of social media is more extensive and is increasing more rapidly than use of traditional media on the web, although we do note a slight upward trend in the latter from year to year. Younger adults, 25 to 44 years, are the most frequent users of internet. Nearly 50 per cent in this group partake of traditional media via the web. Internet also plays a key role in sustaining the audience reach of non-subscribed tabloids; every second tabloid reader reads the paper on the web.
Otherwise, conventional television viewing continues to dominate, and radio listening continues its downward trend, whereas reading of periodicals and books remains relatively stable.
Today there are many ways of watching television, in terms of both when we view and how we access the medium, with a range of hardware stretching from conventional television sets to tablet computers and smartphones. Six per cent of the population make use of conventional channels' archive on-demand function the average day; per week the figure is 21 per cent. The corresponding figures among 15- to 24-year-olds are 10 per cent the average day, and 30 per cent the average week. About 10 per cent of younger boys use their cell phones to watch television or video clips the average day.
Swedes in the eldest age group, 65-79 years, distinguish themselves by a rise in cinema-going. No similar rise is noted in other age groups. Seventeen per cent of the group visit a cinema once or more the average month; in 1999 the figure was 3 per cent.
Explore further: Americans spend eight hours a day on screens