Young people’s trust in key figures such as politicians and religious leaders has fallen sharply over the past five years but they remain largely happy, according to Viacom Global Insights’ latest global study.
Viacom Global Insights, the global research arm of Viacom Inc. the US media company behind youth-oriented channels such as Nickelodeon and MTV as well as Hollywood studio Paramount, surveyed 28,600 people aged 6 to 54 online in 30 major countries about a wide range of views.
In a time of turbulent politics and religious conflict, just nine percent of respondents described themselves as trustful of religious leaders and a mere two percent said the same of their countries’ politicians.
Since the last survey in 2012, trust for religious leaders has tumbled 33 percentage points and the figure for politicians fell 25 points among people age 30 and younger in the 27 countries that were polled both years.
Views, however, varied sharply among countries, with trust in religious leaders reaching a high of 32 percent in Nigeria.
Trust also slipped for doctors, teachers and even friends, with people in every country identifying their mothers as the most trusted.
But the Viacom survey, dubbed “The Next Normal: The Rise of Resilience,” found that the percentage of people who said they were happy overall was virtually unchanged at 76 percent.
“The overwhelming theme that’s come out of this is that the human is a very resilient animal,” said Christian Kurz, Viacom’s Senior Vice President for Global Consumer Insights.
Asked to define happiness, most people in both 2012 and 2017 pointed to spending time with family and friends.
But next in importance in 2017 — especially in developed countries — was ensuring time for vacation and enjoyment, while in 2012 more people focused on money.
Kurz said he sensed a shift in attitudes in the wake of the global economic crisis, with many people feeling powerless.
“If you don’t really have a choice, then you focus on the things that you do have control over — and the people you spend time with, you have control over,” Kurz said.
“What we’re seeing now is that that’s becoming even more important,” he said.
Coming from the parent company of MTV, the survey also offered quirky insights on music culture.
The study found that three-quarters of Indians said they occasionally danced alone in their rooms to music, while the Japanese came in last with 27 percent admitting to solitary moves.
Below is more about Viacom Global Insights’ “The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience” study, via insights.viacom.com:
Introducing The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience
Today, we’re proud to announce the official launch of our newest project, The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience.
Five years ago we released our study The Next Normal, which offered an unprecedented view of the attitudes of young people around the world and their outlooks on life.
A lot has happened since then. How have things changed?
Today, we’re proud to announce the official launch of our newest project, The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience. This massive study spanned 28,600 people aged 6 to 54 in 30 countries*.
We found that people are more worried now about personal safety and terrorism — yet they remain as happy as ever. In response to these trying times, resilience is on the rise.
The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience found that people everywhere are coping in four ways:
Standing up to uncertainty. No matter their age or where they live, people feel equipped to handle life’s challenges. Spending time with others, listening to music, watching TV, and sometimes just crying all serve to keep stress in check. Music offers a necessary escape and humor is a relied-upon tool for achieving more in life. The end result? A greater sense of personal strength.
Staying grounded. While most say they always look for the positive, a hard-edged realism lurks in the background. People see the world as imperfect. They are losing faith in religious leaders, government and politicians, even in their own judgment. Their approach to life is grounded and realistic, with most saying they “keep it real” and are true to the people they’re closest to. When asked who inspires the most confidence in them, the most common answer was “Mom.”
Enjoying the moment. In 2012, people defined happiness in terms of time and money. In 2017, their sources of contentment shifted from the material to the experiential. Success today is more about deep connections to others and less about superficial markers like looking good or driving a nice car. The top 5 signs of success now are happiness, being part of a loving family, enjoying your job, finding balance in life, and being around the right people.
Coming together. In both the digital and real worlds, people’s networks are growing. They have more contacts on social media, more online “friends” that they don’t know in real life, and more IRL friends than in 2012. The internet is helping people connect more with others, exposing them to new perspectives, and inspiring curiosity and community action. There is a pervasive and strengthening sense of unity among people of all ages – most agree that their age group has the potential to change the world for the better.
* 30 countries surveyed: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, US
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