The role of social media in the lives of young people continues to grow. But that is not because of the Metaverse. The biggest hype of the moment, is for the time being mainly that. We also see that young people increasingly struggle with their (mental) health and we notice that the pursuit of sustainability also has its limits for young people. Here are a few results of the Great Youth Survey 2022, conducted by Mediahuis, Wayne Parker Kent and MediaTest.

For the sixth time, Mediahuis, Wayne Parker Kent and MediaTest conducted this survey and asked young people about, among other things, their (social) media use. They also examined how young people think about subjects such as health, mobility, norms and values, sustainability and finances.

A fragmented media landscape, the Metaverse still far from popular

Much attention has been paid to the Metaverse recently. Mark Zuckerberg and Meta have an almost holy faith in this digital network of interconnected, virtual worlds. However, its use lags far behind, even among young people. Only 2% of those surveyed say they visit the Metaverse. There is also almost no distinction between men and women, Gen Z’ers and millenials.

Young people do spend their time on other social media channels and various forms of watching television. Both on the social media side and the television side, we see the landscape fragmenting. Social media such as TikTok, Discord, YouTube and Twitch have become much more popular. Netflix still leads the streaming services, but is losing ground, mainly to Disney+ and Videoland.

The price of increasing media consumption

The growth of media consumption by young people does come with a downside. This year, for the first time, we see a growing group of young men indicating that they are sad, insecure or even depressed after using social media. Young people see the future of the world less rosy at all: in 2018, 53% thought the world would become a worse place, now it is 64%.

Polarizing movements in food and health

Young people give their own health, an important theme, only a 7.1. A considerable drop compared to the 7.7 in 2020. When it comes to ‘sports’, we see a polarisation. 32% say they exercise more than before, but on the other hand 31% say they exercise less. We see the same with ‘healthy eating’. There, 22% say they eat more healthily, against 23% who say they eat less healthily.

It seems as if young people are making increasingly sharp choices. Perhaps as a way of shaping their identity, a theme that is always relevant for younger generations, especially in this day and age. The slight downward trend in vegetarian or vegan food among women is striking. For the first time, a decrease can be seen in the number of women who eat vegan or vegetarian food. The same decrease is seen in the number of people who expect to eat less meat. Although the diversity of products and supply has increased enormously in recent years, this seems to have had little effect on consumption.

Advertising by influencers not popular, but effective

The fact that young people are not keen on advertising is nothing new. However, it is striking that advertisements by influencers are found most irritating. Millennial men in particular have a rather negative attitude towards advertising by influencers. Although women are not too positive either, we do see that they are more likely to purchase something after an influencer has recommended it. It is important, however, that the influencer fits in well with the type of product or service being recommended and that the influencer is genuinely enthusiastic about it.

Privacy, sustainability and …

The full white paper discusses even more interesting themes. For example, the study goes deeper into young people’s attitudes towards online privacy, how sustainability translates to their daily lives and even more insights into which target group you can best reach and how.

The white paper of the youth research can be downloaded via