55% of millennials believe social media is harmful to health and society

Millennials are growing more sceptical of businesses’ and brands’ motives and the impact of social media on society.

A survey by Deloitte among over 13,000 millennials found that the age-group is becoming more disillusioned with economy and they are less trusting of brands.

Just over half (55%) of millennials feel that business has a positive impact on wider society. However, 76% agree that their own ambitions are to make money rather than focusing on agendas which consider the wider society.

Although just 37% of millennials believe that business leaders are making a positive impact on the world and 26% distrust business leaders to be sources of accurate information, 55% also consider profit a top priority for a business. Meanwhile, 36% of millennials would like to see companies create higher-quality goods and services and generate jobs (35%).

At the same time, 42% of respondents said they had deepened business relationships where they felt brands were making a positive impact on society or the environment, whilst 37% had lessened relationships where they felt the opposite was the case.

Ethical behaviours, political leaning and behaviours or the amount of data requested from them, have led consumers to move away from certain brands and companies.

Meanwhile, millennials have a hate-love relationship with social media with 71% saying they generally felt positive about social media use. However, 64% admit they would feel physically healthier if they reduced their social media time and six in 10 would also feel happier.

55% consider social media to do more harm than good, whilst 45% admit to feeling anxious if they cannot check social media for a day or longer. At the same time, four in 10 wish they could stop using it entirely.

Data collection is a point of friction with just half of respondents feeling positive about their use of social media and digital devices in relation to the data being collected. Just 14% agree that the benefits of technology outweigh its risks and 79% are worried about falling victim to online fraud.

Although the overall outlook of the survey paints a rather bleak picture, it also reveals opportunities for businesses. For example, millennials are more likely to care about a brand or an employer if they address issues such as climate change or others which are important to them.

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