This Is Our Audience: Youth

A new video summarizes key themes from MTV Knowing Youth’s conversations with over 65,000 young people across 27 countries in 2015.

Globally, young adults are beginning their adult lives in a context of economic crisis, competitive job markets, and terrorism. While technology inspires new lines of work, it simultaneously destroys careers once thought to be stable—making it difficult to plan concretely for the future.

Social media has transformed the way young adults communicate with each other and present themselves to the world. Without the limitations of geography, they connect with the people and ideas that resonate with them most deeply.

So, what does this mean for global youth today?

A new video summarizes some key themes from MTV Knowing Youth’s conversations with over 65,000 people 12-24 across 27 countries in 2015. Here are a few insights captured by this research:

They are relentless optimists who are not going to give up on the great future they were promised. More than 7 in 10 young people internationally describe themselves as ‘very happy.’ They have an innate expectation of change—and the future they envision is more stable, peaceful and fair. Most were not affected by the global recession until they started to look for work. Now, establishing themselves professionally is a key concern.

They are moving away from traditional paths and rewriting the rules of life. While their parents tended to pick a career and stick with it, today’s young people are inspired by the broad possibilities that lay before them. Many are opting to engage multiple interests and skill sets—and hedge their bets–with “portfolio careers.” This attitude isn’t limited to their professional lives: relationships don’t need to follow a linear path, and gender and sexual identity are open to interpretation.

They are in constant ‘audition mode’ on social media. From Tinder ‘right-swipes’ to Instagram ‘likes,’ young people care about how they appear on these platforms and want to win others’ approval. They are always striving to perfect their social media images. However, Snapchat and WhatsApp offer more privacy—and that’s where they let down their guard and show their true selves to their closest connections.