What’s Next For The Net Set?

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According to a new white paper, the first internet generation of 18-25 year old Brits feel they have an advantage over previous generations when it comes to grasping business opportunities, despite this age group living through the biggest recession since the 1930s.

The findings come as part of the Internet Explorer State of the Internet Nation survey, which reveals the hopes and fears of 18-25 year olds.

The study found that:

  • 70 per cent of 18-25 year olds believe the Internet gives opportunities to bring about social change
  • Nearly nine in ten are fearful of sharing details, censorship or cyber stalking and of these 78 per cent value the benefits of the Internet over its threats to their security and privacy

Internet Explorer 8 conducted a study of 18-25 year olds as part of the launch of its Life Academy which is offering three £10K grants to help young people make their socially responsible ideas a reality.

 The study found that young Brits are hoping for the best and expecting the worst with 71 per cent of young Brits claiming it's tougher to get on the property ladder than it was 20 years ago.  In fact, recent economic uncertainty sees 51 per cent say that financial security is harder than it was for previous generations. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as many believe the Internet has helped their generation to achieve great education (82 per cent), personal freedom (81 per cent) and access to information (44 per cent).

Professor Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London and Life Academy judge, said: “The Net Set counts themselves lucky to be the first internet generation.  Four in five recognise the web gives them access to valuable inspiration and knowledge, helps make changes in the world and even lets their business ideas fly.  Unlike previous generations, the Net Set has grown up with global knowledge meaning they have bigger dreams, ambitions and the desire to engage with more people.

"The internet has changed the way we converse with each other and this age group has the ability to capitalise on this and create their own empire.”

In fact, 58 per cent of young Brits say the internet encourages them to strive for more, including  more than half (55 per cent) using  the web to search for new business ideas.

The findings also show the Net Set believes the web makes them more socially engaged with 70 per cent agreeing that the internet helps people to do good through charity and fund raising - and nearly seven in ten have participated in an online petition or campaign.

They are also less enamoured by paparazzi celebs like Alex Reid and Victoria Beckham. Instead, the most respected celebrities are those who live the social change message such as Barack Obama (13 per cent) and marathon-man Eddie Izzard (eight per cent), but the most admired of all is Stephen Fry (18 per cent), suggesting that the Net Set want to emulate brains and compassion, rather than good-looks alone.

Julia Owen, from Microsoft, said: “The immense scope of the internet means we can explore and grow ideas to help drive our future hopes. In fact, 84 per cent of the Net Set claim the Internet has made life better for their age group than 20 years ago."

The study also reveals that, 83 per cent are fearful of sharing details, censorship or cyber stalking and of those four out of five 18-25 year olds believe the benefits of the internet far outweighs security and privacy threats.  They value it for knowledge or inspiration (80 per cent), fostering creativity (63 per cent) and the majority say it gives them better business opportunities (72 per cent).