Teenagers in Switzerland get most of their information from the internet yet think traditional media are the most trustworthy. In addition, four out of ten adolescents say they have been exposed to fake news, according to a study into media consumption.
The 2019 JAMESfocus reportexternal link by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Swisscom found that two-thirds of 12- to 19-year-olds in Switzerland said they were interested in global current affairs.
Some 57% believed it was important to keep up-to-date with the news, but they do so via Facebook or Instagram rather than traditional media such as television or newspapers.
The main interests for this age group are music (67%), news (66%), sport (55%) and celebrity gossip (48%). A third of respondents said they were interested in world politics and only a fifth in Swiss politics.
Wary of free information
When it came to fake news, 40% said they had come across information that later turned out to be wrong. The authors of the report, published on Thursday, stressed the importance of being able to identify such information immediately and underlined the role of parents and teachers in passing on skills and methods of separating what’s true from what’s false.
They said it’s also a question of making young people aware that checking information requires intensive work by professionals which can be guaranteed only if consumers are prepared to pay for it. People should be wary of free information, the authors wrote.
Teenagers seem to be aware of that – even if a growing proportion of them ignores it – since they placed the most trust in the traditional media, with television ahead of newspapers.
Only a third of 12- to 19-year-olds reckoned most of the information online was credible.