Clear gender roles when youths use internet

Stockholm | 2009-04-07

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The use of internet among Stockholm’s youths has been mapped out – the result shows a clear-cut difference between the sexes.
Internet usage differ between girls
and boys. Photo:

Boys are boys and girls are girls. While boys use internet for gaming, gambling and reading about sports, downloading and watching videos on YouTube, girls visits Facebook and other social networks and read about fashion. The study by Stockholm City and Stockholm University shows that differences between the sexes are larger than the similarities.

Boys also visits more sites, are looking for new sites and make a larger number of visits. Girls concentrate their use of internet to fewer websites and have a focus on relations.

- Girls are looking for contact with others they share interests with, while boys are more action oriented, says Stig Elofsson, assistant professor at Stockholm University, to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Other surveys have shown that the sexes have more in common than holding them apart when it comes to internet usage among youths. But those studies have studied groups that are more homogenous, Elofsson underlines.

- We have tried to focus on youths with different backgrounds. When people do not have the same access, the difference in behaviour becomes clearer.

The study also shows that immigrant youths use internet to a lower degree than those with a Swedish background. In general are children whose families have limited resources lesser online than those with wealthier parents. But there are exceptions.

- Girls born abroad, who are first generation immigrants, seems to use internet to an unusually high degree.
One explanation could be that some parents might have limited the social life of the girls for cultural reasons and that they instead use internet for their social contacts.

- But this is only speculations, we have to do further studies about that, says Elofsson.

532 youths at upper secondary schools in Stockholm participated in the study which was conducted by the research department at Stockholm City in co-operation with Stockholm University.

The study is part of a research series about cultural habits among Stockholm’s youths.

David Jonasson


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