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Young people are more likely to rely on social media even though few trust them “a lot”: survey

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Young people are more likely than older generations to turn to social media, although few in the younger age group said they trust social media “a lot” to provide accurate information, according to a new global survey by UNICEF and Gallup.

Overall, 45 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 said social media was a “go-to” source of information, while only 17 percent of young people aged 40 and older said the same, according to the survey. The results were based on survey responses from people in 21 countries.

The 28 percentage point gap on social media as a source of information is the biggest difference between age groups among the broad questions included in the report.

In each country studied, young people are at least 10 percentage points more likely to use online sources of information than older people, and in most countries the difference is 30 percentage points or more, according to the UNICEF report.

While a large number of young people cited social media as their main source of information, older generations were more likely to cite television as their most popular source – 39 percent. Fewer than one in five young people, 15 percent, named the medium as the source of choice.

Although social media is an important source of information for young people, only 17 percent of the age cohort state that they trust the information on the platforms “very”. This is comparable to the 12 percent of older people who said they trust social media a lot.

The majority of young people, 57 percent, said they trust social media “a little” and 15 percent said they don’t trust them at all, based on survey data.

Only half of older people said they trust social media a little, and 20 percent said they didn’t at all.

The survey also found that young people are less concerned about data protection compared to older generations.

An average of 25 percent of teenagers from the 21 countries surveyed said they were very concerned that their personal information might be collected and shared when they are online. For comparison: 36 percent of older Internet users said the same thing.

The survey found that the generational model is particularly true in high-income countries with older populations, including the United States, Germany, Japan, France and the United Kingdom; People aged 40 and over say they are very concerned about their personal information being collected online , compared to about 20 percent of young people.

Although the majority of young people expressed concerns about the risks digital technologies pose to children, they did so less than older adults, according to the survey.

Seventy-nine percent of adults 40 and older said it was “very risky” for children to meet people in real life they met online, compared with 71 percent of young people who said the same thing. And 88 percent of adults 40 and older said they were “very concerned” about the risks of online sexual harassment, compared to 83 percent of young people.

Age cohorts are more evenly distributed in terms of major concerns about being bullied online. According to the survey, 81 percent of older generations and 79 percent of young people say so.

The survey is based on interviews with more than 21,000 people. Most of the results presented in the report have an error rate of 4 percentage points. People between the ages of 25 and 39 were not interviewed in the intergenerational comparison report.

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