New representative study presents results of media usage of young people

  • Awareness
  • 05/01/2018
  • German Safer Internet Centre

The recently published German JIM study 2017 (Youth, Information, Media) asked 1,200 young people (aged 12-19) about their media usage in general and focused on the use of online learning for school.

General findings: Media equipment and usage (information-related-behaviour)
The provision of families with media devices has now reached a saturation level of almost 100 per cent for smartphones, computers, internet access and TVs. As far as devices that young people own themselves are concerned, the smartphone dominates, with 97 per cent, while 69 per cent own a computer or laptop. Other popular devices are: gaming consoles (owned by 67 per cent), TV (53 per cent), laptop (52 per cent) or radio (51 per cent). 99 per cent of 12 to 19 year olds have access to the internet, while 89 per cent of young people are online every day.

When it comes to the information-related behaviour of adolescents, the greatest need of young people is to quickly find out about issues that concern them. They primarily use search engines (85 per cent), followed by videos on YouTube (66 per cent) and Wikipedia. One in four source news and up-to-date information from around the world via social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, or use the online editions of newspapers, with one-fifth using magazines' news portals.

Digital media in the school context: Online learning primarily takes place at home
The 2017 edition of the study focused on the use of digital media in the school context, particularly to what extent digital media are integrated in classrooms and how young people use a computer/the internet for schoolwork at home.

Altogether, the average German pupil spends 97 minutes a day on homework; girls exceed boys with 115 minutes compared to 80 minutes. About half of the homework time (44 minutes) is spent on the internet, whereby the use of the computer significantly increases with age: whereas 12-year-olds only spent about half an hour online, older pupils use the internet for a bit more than an hour. So, using digital media for school can be considered to be a daily routine.

On the other hand, digital media hardly play a role in schools: only 31 per cent use a whiteboard regularly (several times a week); the numbers for the use of computers are even lower (22 per cent). Although the large majority of pupils own mobile devices, they primarily use them at home and not in school. Smartphones are regularly used in school by 13 per cent of the sample, laptops by 9 per cent and tablets by 4 per cent. Even when it comes to usage on a monthly basis, the numbers aren't that different: about 10 per cent of pupils use a tablet, 25 per cent a laptop and a third use their smartphone at least once a month in school.

The study also asked about software competencies: youths were asked to self-evaluate their skills in office software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint or similar programs. Young people see themselves as particularly good at text and presentation programs, such as Word or PowerPoint but they rate their skills far lower in calculation programs such as Excel.

About the study
With its representative study series "JIM" (Youth, Information, Multimedia), the Pedagogical Media Research Centre Southwest, mpfs, has been collecting basic data on media usage of young people in Germany since 1998. The JIM study is conducted jointly by mpfs and the Südwestrundfunk (SWR) as a collaborative effort of the two State Media Authorities of Baden-Württemberg (LFK) and Rhineland-Palatinate (LMK). For this edition of the study series, 1,200 young people between the ages of 12 and 19 throughout Germany were interviewed on the phone in the period from 6 June to 19 July 2017.

For more information, see:

JIM-Studie 2017 (in German with a 4-page summary in English)
klicksafe news article (in German)

Find out more about the work of the German Safer Internet Centre (SIC), including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

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