A fifth of Gen Z have deactivated social media accounts over data and privacy concerns, report
23-07-2020 15:49:00 | Editor: Bob Koigi | hits: 11581 | Tags:

A fifth of 18-24 year-olds, popularly christened Gen Z,  have deactivated their social media accounts in the past year, while a third are limiting time on their phones  as concerns over data use and well-being take hold .

This is according to the Digital Society Index Survey recently released by media, digital and creative communications agency Dentsu Aegis Network.

This trend is particularly noticeable across Europe, including the Finnish and Spaniards. Globally, a third have limited the time they’ve spent online or looking at their smartphone and almost half have taken steps to reduce the amount of data they’re sharing online, such as clearing their search history or opting out of geo-location services. 

The survey that involved more than 5,000 Gen-Z’ers is part of a worldwide study of 32,000 people conducted at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, looking into people’s relationship with technology and brands.

More than half Gen Z’ers don’t trust tech companies because of concerns over how they use their data, while four out of ten believe social media is having a negative impact on political discourse in their country. The stats are revealing, showing this view to be highest in Hungary at 56 per cent followed by Australia, 50 per cent and the USA at 48 per cent.   

With mental health issues a big concern for younger people, nearly half of Gen Z believe their personal use of tech has a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, with this being particularly acute in Spain, Australia, and France. 

Despite these concerns, iGen Z’ers remain confident that technology will do more good than bad in the future. Two-thirds are optimistic that digital technologies will help solve the world's most pressing challenges, and this sentiment is felt most in Hong Kong followed by Poland, Finland and Mexico.

Half of Gen Z’ers also believe AI and robotics will create career opportunities for them in the next 5-10 years, significantly above average. However, this brings new expectations with nearly three-quarters of Gen Z believing brands will need to demonstrate how their use of tech benefits society over the next 5-10 years. 

Masaya Nakamura, CEO Solutions, Dentsu Aegis Network, said: “Our survey reveals the digital consumer of the future. They are tech literate and are taking back control of their data and online activity, both to look after their well-being as well as address concerns about how organisations may misuse their data. However, they remain hugely positive about the wider impact of technology on society. “Brands need to reassess how they build relationships with this cohort in a way that places a premium on transparency, empowerment and a clear value exchange when using consumer data. They also need to ensure they are using technology in a way that delivers wider societal benefit as expectations on brands increase to create helpful experiences and solutions. Gen Z’ers are tech champions – but you’ve got to earn their trust first.”