Social media news confuses young Australians | information age

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What does this news mean? Photo: Shutterstock

The heavy use of social media as a source of information has left young Australians struggling to understand the complexity of current events, according to new global research that has implications for how companies educate current and future generations of people. workers.

16% of Australian respondents under 35 in new Reuters Institute Digital report 2022 – which included more than 2,000 respondents from each of the 46 countries, including Australia – said they Wrestle to understand the reports.

This was compared with just 4% of those aged 35 and over – the largest gap between younger and older respondents of any country surveyed.

More Aussies now hear from them Facebook (31%) than ABC News Online (26%) and YouTube (19%) than 9 News (16%) – and although our news consumption on social media is still low by global standardsauthor of the report and a senior research associate at the Reuters Institute, believes this still affects youth engagement.

“Young people tend to receive news in a slightly more fragmented way via social media,” Newman said. Explain“so maybe they’re missing pieces of the story and making it more difficult to grasp…key context that was previously neatly packaged into linear narratives by mainstream media.”

“Digital and social media offer a much wider range of stories, but that environment can often be overwhelming and confusing,” he said. “The abundance of choice in an online context can cause others to engage much less regularly than they did in the past.”

Many people drop the news altogether, with a third fewer respondents with many countries saying they are very or extremely interested in current affairs – and 5% saying they have completely stopped being interested in current affairs.

Australians were more likely to have turned off the news, with 8% of respondents saying they had not accessed news content at all in the week before the survey – above global averages but still behind the United States, where reader disconnection has risen from 3 percent a decade ago to 15 percent this year.

We were also more likely to be actively avoiding the news, with 41% saying they are doing so this year, compared to 29% in the 2019 pre-pandemic survey.

When asked why, 36% of respondents said the news negatively affects their mood, while 29% admitted to being “exhausted” by the amount of news and 29% believe the news is unreliable or biased. .

“There’s something about the way we cover stories that in some cases affects people’s mental health,” Newman said, calling for a “negative agenda, or just the succession of negative stories.”

Implications for corporate training

Changing consumer habits are affecting the way people interact with new information: US think tank Pew Research Center, for its part, has found that heavy use of social media makes readers less engaged and less informed on the news, less likely to follow COVID-19 coverage, and most likely to report see invented news.

These trends have implications for how students and workers – especially confused or disengaged young workers – are trained for corporate environments where processes, compliance and other types of education are essential requirements. .

Many companies have particularly struggled with cybersecurity training, where employee “cybersecurity fatigue” remains an issue. real problem as leaders fight to protect their systems and workers from attack.

“Traditional cybersecurity awareness programs no longer work,” said Richard Addiscott, principal analyst at Gartner, at the company’s recent press conference. Security and Risk Management Summit.

The idea that “cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility doesn’t really hold sway,” he explained, noting that many employees “think the role of the security team is to protect them from their mistakes. …and security checks are seen as nice and soft security.” net for insecure behavior.

Expert offer tips on how to deal with the situation, while cybersecurity companies have been gaining traction by providing training on how social media has conditioned today’s young people to process information.

This means, for example, providing training in a ‘Like Netflixapproach consisting of episodic videos60 second video game style shorts, Based on Lego videos, anime, staggered segments with related characters, and even a five-part mini-series.

Cybersecurity pop culture may lend itself to creative spinoffs, but trainers are also embracing new tactics in other areas by providing fun training or work to gamify the course material through role-playing, discussion, polls, and more engagement strategies.

Yet with companies facing what Addiscott called “serious levels of employee complacency, born of a prevailing attitude that safety just isn’t my problem,” their long-term success remains to be seen. .

New figures from Reuters highlight the scale of the current challenge, with news companies and corporate trainers facing the same imperative to engage with millennials and gen Z workers who simply don’t consume information in the same way as older workers.

The new environment, Newman said, “is a real challenge for media companies to think about how they can engage and appeal to these younger audiences.”

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