New Study Shows Social Media Is a Primary News Source for the Youth

OrganizationsOther ♦ Published: February 4, 2023; 08:17 ♦ (Vindobona)

A study carried out by the Institute for Youth Culture Research and Cultural Education on behalf of the Austrian Institute for Applied Telecommunications and ISPA - Internet Service Providers Austria as part of the EU initiative showed that the youth’s primary news source is social media, while at the same time, they do not trust the news.

A Press Conference Was Held to Present the "Safer Internet Day 2023" Study. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Florian Schrötter

On the occasion of the 20th International Safer Internet Day on February 7, 2023,, together with State Secretary for Youth Claudia Plakolm, presented a current survey on the subject of "Young people and misinformation on the Internet". The results of the study show that Austria's young people are in a dilemma when dealing with information on the Internet: Young people primarily obtain information on everyday topics via social media, but hardly trust the information obtained there. There are major knowledge gaps and problems in evaluating information sources. At the same time, the consumption of classic media among young people is steadily declining.

The results show a worrying development and a great need for action. The majority of Austrian young people (62 percent) use social networks every day to find out about current topics. At the same time, 39 percent of those surveyed rate the content on these platforms as not very credible, and for 23 percent it is even unbelievable. “Fake news is like a poison that makes us no longer able to rely on the truth. A conscious approach and a critical examination of facts is, therefore, a central component of the use of social media and the Internet, especially for young people," says Secretary of State for Youth Claudia Plakolm.

"Current figures should emphasize the critical handling of media. Many sides are required to participate: Parents, who have a great role model effect by actively and critically examining their children. The teachers also have a major task: They build the handling with news and fake news in the regular lessons - through the interdisciplinary media competence -" explained the State Secretary. The companies behind the platforms are also responsible. "By establishing active fake news monitoring, subjecting fake news content to labeling, and by providing users with reporting options that need to be further expanded," explained Claudia Plakolm.

She further elaborated "Dealing with and in social media is an important concern for us in the federal government. That is why we have recently taken measures: With the new Telecommunications Platforms Act, we are combating hatred on the Internet through sanction options. The 'Digital School' project sees an 8-point -Plan to enable digitization, especially in infrastructure. The new school subject 'digital basic education' is also an important milestone for pupils in the lower grades. With this, we create a fixed place in the timetable to deal with digital topics more intensively anchored in the curriculum.” With Saferinternet, the Federal Chancellery has a strong partner at its side, said the State Secretary, looking forward to continued good cooperation, which means that there are many extracurricular activities for young people, parents, and educators. offers a wide range of services to support young people in their dilemma when dealing with fake news. For the verification of information and the reporting of fake news to be as easy as possible, practical and easily accessible tools as well as rapid and qualitative processing by the platforms are necessary. Schools need to ensure that students not only learn theoretical skills to evaluate information but also practice them regularly in all subjects and at all school levels. Parents are required to inform their children about trustworthy sources and to always reflect on the truthfulness of the information in everyday family life. "As an industry, we have been trying for years to support young people, their parents, and teachers in promoting media competence, especially with information material, to recognize false reports at an early stage," says ISPA Secretary General Stefan Ebenberger.