Youngsters in Finland dream of social media that is based on soft values and respect. Young people believe they can expand their worldviews and influence society through social channels, but they are concerned about increased bullying. The social media wishes and fears of Finnish youngsters were studied by the Finland’s Children and Youth Foundation together with TietoEVRY. The survey continues the discussions around The Polite Type initiative.
Youngsters in Finland see plenty of future opportunities in social media. Three quarters (75%) feel they will be able to influence societal questions even more in the future through social channels. Most youngsters (78%) also believe that in the future young people will exploit social media even more for expanding their worldviews and understanding different opinions. More than half of youngsters (62%) believe that through social media the voice of minorities will be better heard in the future than now.
This information can be read in the survey “Social media of my dreams: what young people wish of future social media”. The survey is based on responses in March 2021 from more than 731 youngsters between the ages of 15 and 18 living in different parts of Finland.
“Technology and digital solutions influence our lives in many ways,” says Kia Haring, Head of Communications and Sustainability at TietoEVRY. “Social media plays an increasingly important role in the everyday lives of youngsters, who spend up to 20 hours a week on social channels. When we discuss the creation of safe and equal online environments for the future, it is important that different stakeholders are equally represented – and that the voices of young people are heard.”
Hate speech in social media worries the youth in Finland
The survey responses indicated a common concern for not being able to control the increase in bullying, discrimination and hate speech. Finnish youngsters would like to see more moderation on social media and believe that in the future influencers will have a greater impact on the lives of young people.
“Young people in Finland see social media as a sort of a double-edged sword. On one hand, they feel that social media is a means of influencing the world and understanding different viewpoints. On the other hand, they feel that they cannot fully control social media and they understand the negative sides as well. Their biggest worries are related to social media taking up more and more time, and the growing amount of bullying and hate speech” says Olli Alanen, Executive Director at the Children and Youth Foundation.
The survey aims to introduce the voices of young people to the debate on the future of social media. It is part of the Polite Type initiative – a joint project by the Children and Youth Foundation and TietoEVRY against hate speech and cyberbullying. The discussions around the survey will continue in SuomiAreena in July 2021.
Central findings of the survey:
- 82% of respondents believed that young people would use social media even more five years from now. Only 21% of the respondents would like to see people using even more time on social media in the future
- 72% of respondents believed that social media would in the future have a greater impact on young people’s identity building. But only 24% wanted this to be the case
- 78% of respondents felt that young people would use social media even more in the future in order to expand their worldviews
- 58% of respondents believed that people would, thanks to social media, understand other people’s opinions and views better than before. 14% of respondents did not believe this would be the case
- 57% of respondents believed that people would share their lives in a more sincere and less glamourized manner in the future. Only 14% of the respondents did not believe that this would be the case
- 74% of respondents believed that social media influencers would have a greater impact on the lives of young people in future
- 75% of respondents believed that through social young people could have greater influence than today over matters they find socially important
- 62% of respondents believed that representatives of minorities would be better heard on social media in the future. Only 12% believed that this would not be the case
- 63% of respondents found it likely that moderation and supervision would increase on social media. 22% of respondents did not wish that supervision would increase
- In open answers, young people were especially worried that bullying, discrimination, and hate speech would be even less controlled in the future
The Children and Youth Foundation builds together with young people a future where every person can feel that he or she has a meaningful life. In our work, we wish to strengthen young people’s trust in the future, feeling of togetherness and skills. We influence in society together with our extensive network of partners. The Foundation was established in 2001, and it is politically and religiously neutral. We reach about 20 000 young people annually.
TietoEVRY creates digital advantage for businesses and society. We are a leading digital services and software company with local presence and global capabilities. Our Nordic values and heritage steer our success.
Headquartered in Finland, TietoEVRY employs around 24 000 experts globally. The company serves thousands of enterprises and public sector customers in more than 90 countries. TietoEVRY’s annual turnover is approximately EUR 3 billion and its shares are listed on the NASDAQ in Helsinki and Stockholm as well as on the Oslo Børs. www.tietoevry.com