Coronavirus Pandemic – Teens are getting more information from TV

Last spring, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) interviewed 1,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 19 who live in different language regions of the country.

According to the ZHAW study, public service television was one of the main sources of information for 61% of young people between the ages of 12 and 19 in Switzerland during the first wave of the Coronavirus. Before the pandemic, they were only 33% to give it that credibility (file photo).

Keystone / Jean-Christophe Bout

Teens rediscovered television as a news channel during the first wave of the coronavirus. A study on media consumption reveals this. It also concludes that students of humble or foreign origins suffer the most from distance education.

In the latest JAMESfocus survey commissioned by Swisscom, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) interviewed 1,000 youths between the ages of 12 and 19 who live in different language regions of the country last spring, it said Tuesday. The survey was conducted online due to the near containment associated with the epidemic.

For 61% of teens, television was one of the main sources of information on Covid-19. Before the pandemic, this medium was cited as such by 33% of young people, in the framework of the previous JAMES study, in 2018. People interviewed last spring lend particularly high credibility to public service television.


According to the study, high media consumption was associated with major epidemic concerns. This link can be explained either by the subject’s overexposure to the topic, or by the fact that naturally anxious teens present a great need for information, ZHAW points out.

For more than half of teens, the main fear was the possibility of a loved one contracting Covid-19. Only 17% were concerned about their exposure to the disease. Girls expressed their fear more than boys, and Latins more than Germans. Additionally, 40% of the young people who were questioned had never shared a video chat with their relatives before deciding to do so last spring.

Talk and don’t get confused

Besides television, chats with family and friends were the other main source of information for teens. Moreover, the researchers recommend sharing with young people about the content of the information consumed, particularly to raise associated concerns. Additionally, the critical exchange of misinformation and conspiracy theories circulating in times of crisis can protect well-being, ZHAW writes.

It is also recommended that you consume moderate amounts of media so that you do not overwhelm yourself. It suffices to inform yourself once or twice a day with a maximum of three or four modes. On the other hand, focusing only on the issues that the media reveals can be detrimental to well-being. It is therefore also recommended that you learn about the positive outlook and possible solutions.

Inequality in distance learning

The JAMESfocus survey also focused on the effects of distance education and remote work on adolescents. According to her, 56% of young people of foreign origin face difficulties in this context. Among the Swiss between the ages of 12 and 19, this figure is only 38%.

The results are similar depending on adolescents’ socioeconomic status. Researchers assume that families with modest financial means generally have fewer screens in their homes. Likewise, teens from these families often receive less support from their parents with their school assignments and more on their own.


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