Family dinner at the Internetsson House

As happens from time to time, the internet habits of the people of Sweden have been measured, mapped and analyzed. How much time do we spend online? What websites do we visit? Which age-groups do what? To explore this, we’ve bypassed the pie-charts and instead taken a look at the Internetsson family as they sit around the dinner enjoying their Martinmas meal. We think it reveals some pretty interesting findings…

Let’s start with Dad, 46-year-old Jens. He has just just taken a new profile picture for Facebook that he’s proudly showing to the folks around the table. As always, he’s taken the picture from an unflattering angle. He’s cooked this year’s goose according to some tips from one of the many culinary artists he follows on YouTube. Obviously the goose ends up in a picture too, and it lands in his Instagram feed with the #foodporn hashtag. On Monday, Jens’ new colleague Jennifer will help him to install Swish and BankID on his mobile.

Mum Jenny (46) reads more blogs than books these days. She has just remembered to switch on the wi-fi on her phone, so that she uses up less of her all-important mobile data. This means she can spend even more time listening to audio books on the bus home from work. She thinks online-shopping is both fun and convenient but her enthusiasm sometimes leads her on to unsafe websites, resulting in questionable bills coming through the letter box. As a professional “Instagram-stalker”, Jenny has noticed that her husband recently ‘liked’ a 76-week-old photo of someone called Jennifer.

Lina (19) slyly swipes through Tinder under the table. Since it’s a special occasion, she’s trying to be a bit more sociable today, but in normal circumstances she mostly communicates with her family via Messenger or WhatsApp. Lina also has her own YouTube channel where she uploads vlogs – she wants to be an influencer one day. Unlike her parents, Facebook is no longer her favorite social media platform. Instagram and Snapchat are the most-used apps on her mobile. Her studies involve a lot of group projects, where most of the time is spent discussing the characters on new Netflix programs.

Most of the guests around the table know how to log on to the family’s wi-fi network. Uncle Mats (53) even knows the password to their Netflix account. He installed fiber-optic cables all the way into his house a while ago, and now he has seen just about everything there is to see on the celebrated streaming service. Mats thinks of himself as the IT expert of the family and he works from home as a car salesman. He was therefore pretty surprised to discover that someone had registered the name of his his car company – – in Germany. Now there is a website with his company name and the .de top-level domain. He Googled around to find a solution but ended up wasting his time and money on a new online casino.

Grandad Janne (76) listens to Spotify via his son’s account, but because the music stops whenever Jens starts using it he prefers his good old radio. That way he gets to listen to his favorite hosts on Sveriges Radio. His television and his collection of VHS tapes are gathering dust, since he realized he could access all his old favorites on his computer, via Swedish Television’s Öppet arkiv.. Yesterday he got an unexpected e-mail from Mats, saying that he was stranded in India and needed 5000 kronor ASAP. Luckily he couldn’t find the log-in details for his bank account.

68-year-old Eva, or Mormor as she’s known to the family, likes to listen to podcasts about unsolved murders. She thinks of herself as very active on social media, but recently discovered when she invited her friends for a glass of wine via Facebook, that her peers aren’t as active as she is. For some years she’s read the Aftonbladet newspaper online but she seems to spend more time shutting down pop-up ads than reading the news.

Cousin Ella (5) uses the internet every day. When she was 6 months old she seized control of the family’s tablet, and shows no signs of giving it up. Despite her age she has already noticed that everyone around the table except Mum has an iPhone. Mum has an Android.

Perhaps this family reflects Swedish society in general and has made some of you smile in recognition. Others might have stopped reading after the first paragraph. So it goes. Some of us are just more curious than others.

On average we spend around one third of our waking time looking at a screen. At the same time around 500,000 Swedes – from a country of 10 million – never use the internet. Most of the people in this category are over 76, and many of them have never tried it. Also, those that don’t use the internet on a daily basis, tend to feel less involved in our digital society.

Over the last couple of years, the Swedish concept of lagom has became well-known throughout the world. It means something like ‘just the right amount’, or ‘neither too much or too little’. Here in Sweden, we even like to think of ourselves as landet lagom: the lagom country. The big question for me, though, is whether we will spend the lagom amount of time online in the future? That’s something I’m still trying to figure out…


// Andreas Karlsson, Soon to be Content Producer at Dotkeeper. 

Source: Swedes and the internet 2018