14:29 GMT03 December 2020
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    Danish young people have been found to be Europe's most advanced web users with regards to social media, streaming and gaming. However, all these digital skills come at the expense of exercise and meeting friends in real life, even if it has, oddly enough, helped improve Danish crime statistics.

    For the new breed of digital Danes, it is a matter of course to use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, make video calls, stream music and play online games. Recent figures from the EU's number cruncher Eurostat placed Danish kids at the very top with regards to internet skills: 98 percent of young people in Denmark use social media and streaming videos, 81 percent buy stuff online and use the web for reference, and 78 percent are avid online gamers.

    Needless to say, such an impressive level of expertise doesn't come out of nowhere. Accordingly, Danish children and adolescents were found to spend the most time in front of a computer, tablet, smartphone or TV among their European peers in a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Naturally enough, these habits have prompted concern among the pre-digital generation of Danes. Mette Rasmussen, an associate professor at the National Institute of Public Health, is concerned by the fact that young people in Denmark spend most of their time surfing the web or playing online games. According to her, an increasing number of children are suffering from headaches and must see a physiotherapist simply because they don't get enough exercise.

    "When children are inactive this early in life, it becomes progressively harder to become active later on," Mette Rasmussen told Danish Radio, venturing that a lot of activity is needed to compensate for the hours spent in front of the screen from a purely medical point of view.

    With most of the daytime (and some of the night hours, too) being spent on the web, there is less time left for being sociable. According to WHO figures, Danish kids are among those who spend the least time with their peers during the weekdays. Correspondingly, only 7 percent of Danish 15-year-old girls and 13 percent of boys of the same age were found to regularly socialize with their peers.

    On the other hand, the advent of the internet has certainly made the Danish Crime Prevention Council (DKR) cheer, since young people spend most of their time online instead of getting into trouble in the real world. According to the latest analysis by DKR, youth crime in Denmark has been declining since 2005 before reaching the lowest level ever recorded, Danish newspaper Politiken reported. The most significant decline was registered in the number of 14 to 15-year-olds who commit crimes like theft, violence and vandalism.

    DKR analyst Rannva Møller Thomsen hailed the decrease in youth criminality and substance abuse, but at the same time stressed the alarming shift among young Danes towards the virtual world.

    During the same period, the number of underage patients suffering from headaches and migraines tripled in Denmark. Hanne Johannsen, the chairwoman of the Danish Migraine and Headache Society, blamed the increase on the children's lifestyle, which involves long periods with heads bowed in front of a computer or tablet, Danish Radio reported.


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    crime, children, social networks, health, Internet, Scandinavia, Denmark
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