Study: Young Finns are surprisingly conventional
According to a recent study commissioned by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes, and conducted by Fountain Park Oy, the images of the future of young Finns are surprisingly conventional in tone.
In fact, young people’s responses reflect a strong need for a family and commitment, while many of them dream about finding an ideal job after diligent studies.
At the same time, young Finns do not have a strong interest in changing the world, and their core values include reliability and industriousness. The study also suggests adherence to traditional gender roles, while Finland is portrayed as an idyll residing in a one-family home.
According to the study, most young people dream about a nuclear family, while travelling is regarded as equally important. Combining these two would be the key to happiness and personal fulfilment.
In addition, young Finns dream about a career and success abroad, particularly in the USA.
On the other hand, some minority respondents wish to continue partying, while living in a good district in Helsinki.
”The stories written by the respondents reflect their illusions of the good life here and now rather than life in the future world”, notes Eija Seppänen, who wrote up the report at Fountain Park Oy.
Exceptionally, a few young individuals also mention some threats that could affect their life in 13 years. One of the respondents (aged 24 years) predicts that by 2020 the ”capitalistic conspicuous consumption” will have destroyed 70 per cent of all natural resources in the world.
Some 15-to-17-year-old respondents regard it as likely that they would be inclined to depression in the future, and one argues that it is best to party like there is no tomorrow, in case there really is no tomorrow.
The fact that the results reflect ”a certain consistency” implies that those young people who had been persuaded to participate in the survey were literary-oriented youths whose attitude towards school and society is positive, notes Pekka Luoma, the Principal of the Koillis-Helsinki Upper Secondary School.
“Fortunately, the values of young people still reflect caring for others and love even in the current economic environment and amid the haste and quarterly-economy bustle of life,” says Niklas Huotari, the Chairman of the Union of Finnish Upper Secondary School Students, commenting on the results.
Another active member of the Union, Nadia Kähkönen, notes that the influence of the Internet can also be seen reflecting on the answers. ”The borders have vanished, and young people regard travelling abroad as more or less a given”, she explains.
The Images of the Future of Young Finnish People study was carried out in August-October 2007, involving more than 400 15- to 24-year-old students from comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools, vocational schools, and universities in different parts of Finland.
The objective of the study was to identify the future world young people will inhabit. What will everyday life be like in the future and what values will exist?
In the two-stage study the young students were requested to submit online stories using the theme “My World in 2020”. In the second stage, they further developed three basic stories created in the first stage.