So much of growing up is timeless. But what is it like to come of age in a world of constant connectivity? And what does this mean for brands who want to communicate with people growing up today?
At Facebook, we wanted to help our clients understand how people are growing up with a mobile phone in hand, a laptop at arm’s reach, and the ability to stay constantly connected with family and friends – near and far.
To answer some of these questions, we commissioned culture experts Crowd DNA to do a study of people, aged 13-24, in 13 countries around the world — Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US. They surveyed 11,000 people and undertook 165 qualitative interviews.1
What the study found is that universal truths of growing up remain the same, but where they play out has changed.
Before the Internet and mobile were widespread, young people passed notes in class. Now they text. Teenagers used to plaster their lockers with photos that represented them. Now this happens on Facebook and Instagram. At one point the landline was the lifeline. Today it is the mobile phone.
The study, “Coming of Age on Screens,” explores this generation’s mobile-first mentality, constant connectivity and innate tendency to express themselves online. It also showcases the commonalities and differences within this generation across geographies.
Despite having grown up during often tumultuous years, the teens and young adults surveyed are surprisingly upbeat. Across the 13 countries, 58% of the people describe themselves as optimistic.2 The 13- to 15-year-olds expressed the most positivity, with 64% describing themselves as optimistic. On a country level, those in Germany were the most optimistic (69%), with the US coming in lower (59%), in line with the overall average.
This optimism is reflected in this generation’s approach to everyday situations. Across the 13 countries, 72% of young people agree they try to see the positives in every situation. In Indonesia, looking on the bright side is virtually hard-wired — 92% of respondents say they do this.
Young people said that above all they value happiness. In fact, they ranked being happy as more important than other circumstances including “being financially independent,” “being part of a loving family” and “discovering my interests and skills.”
People surveyed expressed a strong interest in the wider world, with 75% agreeing they want to learn about other countries and cultures. Some 59% say they’re concerned about global issues, with global-minded attitudes strongest in high-growth markets such as Indonesia (80%).
“It’s quite important to be exposed to other cultures so you’re aware of other people’s perspectives on life, and how they go about their day.” – Jacob, 21, research participant from Australia
Teens and young adults today are forward looking, some 61% said they were thinking about building up their savings.
They are also not afraid of hard work — 84% said they want to work hard to accomplish their goals in life. This work ethic is strongest in high-growth countries such as Indonesia (96%), and Brazil (91%).
Connected Devices, Connected People
Perhaps most importantly, the lives of teens and young adults today are centered on their connections with others — 73% agree their lives revolve around friends and family and 67% are very happy with their social life.
Social media is key in these everyday connections to their immediate network and wider world — 74% agree that social media helps them stay up to date with their friends and family, and 66% say that social media makes them feel more up to date with the world.
“The digital world allows us to live experiences with friends even though we are distant.” – Harumi, age 18, research participant from Brazil
In short, the researchers discovered this generation wants to explore everything that’s new, to express themselves in ways their parents never thought possible, to be independent, to create and say “This is me!”
What does this mean for your brand?
It’s important to approach youth with empathy and recognize the ways in which young people today are the same as previous generations. Coming of age is a period of growth, change and possibility. And much of this activity now plays out online. It’s important for your brand to find a role in helping young people in this transition. Develop content and campaigns that position your brand as a source of information, inspiration or validation.
Consider sharing stories of people who have defied the odds with their talent, innovation and entrepreneurship. Explore content and campaigns that empower this group to reach their own aspirations. And consider how your brand’s mission and products may align with encouraging this incredible optimism.
Learn more about how people around the world are coming of age in a world of constant connectivity:
- The 3 Phases of Growing Up
- The World in Their Hands
- A Favorite Place to Hang Out
- FOBO is the new FOMO
To download the white paper click here.