James study: teens follow mega influencers with perfect lives

According to a survey by ZHAW and Swisscom, Swiss young people mainly consume positively colored content on social media. There are clear gender differences in the preferred subject areas.

Image: Maddi Bazzocco; Unsplash.

Around three quarters of young people frequently see posts that show people with positive emotions - for example, having fun and being happy - or attractive appearances. This is the conclusion of the James Study published on Thursday by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and Swisscom, for which around 1,000 young people in Switzerland between the ages of 12 and 19 were surveyed about their influencers.

According to the study, older adolescents and girls tend to perceive positive content more frequently than younger adolescents and boys. In particular, content that emphasizes the attractive appearance of people is perceived more frequently by girls.

Gender influences idol choice

According to the survey, young people are generally most likely to follow influencers who are male, between 25 and 30 years old and have more than one million followers. When selecting their idols, however, girls and boys tend to favor same-sex idols. Male influencers were therefore named predominantly by boys (70 percent) and female influencers predominantly by girls (88 percent).

The most popular among both sexes, according to the study, is the French gamer and YouTuber Squeezie. Girls additionally most frequently follow Kylie Jenner and Léna Situations, while boys prefer MontanaBlack and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Gender differences are also evident in the preferred subject areas. Boys are more likely to consume content on gaming, comedy and sports, while girls prefer posts on drama and film, how-to (instructions such as baking or make-up videos) and style, as well as music and dance.

The platform also seems to have an influence on the choice of influencers. Girls are more likely to follow influencers with Tik-Tok accounts, while boys follow their role models more frequently on Twitch, Discord or Facebook. Influencers active on Instagram or YouTube were named similarly often by boys and girls overall in the survey. (sda)

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