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Freedom of choice, networking and gender roles

A range of significant social developments shaped the media use of young people between 2010 and 2019. Ten years of JAMES studies document both change and continuity.

The continuing trend towards greater individuality within society has led to an increase in non-linear media channels such as Netflix or Spotify. Access to these on-demand streaming services has been made easier by practical apps, meaning that anybody can consume information entertainment at any time and from almost anywhere. To make use of this freedom of choice and greater degree of self-determination, consumers require the corresponding media skills. The spread and use of the Internet and smartphones have also increased. Messenger services and social networks are used especially actively by young people. The flip side of this greater networking is constant availability and a never-ending flow of communication. This development also needs to be actively addressed if we are to integrate it positively within our own lives.

Games and books remain popular

The so-called “gender shift” means that traditional gender roles are becoming less set in stone. This is also visible in certain aspects of media behaviour. For example, girls are now more likely to consume pornography than they were ten years ago, while the opposite trend is being seen in boys. Preferences are becoming ever less associated with assigned gender roles and have much more to do with personal preferences. In addition to the mentioned changes, however, some remarkable constants in media use can also be observed. Despite advancing digitalisation, the proportion of young people reading books has remained stable. The same is true with respect to the use of games. Ten years of JAMES research conducted by the School of Applied Psychology’s Media Psychology section and Swisscom show one thing: Media is now an indispensable part of the everyday lives of young people and contributes to shaping how they spend their leisure time.