Nine out of 10 young Saudis get their news from social media, a new survey has revealed.
That represents a sharp rise in the number of young people in the Kingdom relying on platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp, rather than more traditional news outlets. Four years ago, only 14 percent used social media as their main news source.
The finding is one of the results of the 2020 Arab Youth Survey, the annual gauge of sentiment among men and women aged 18-24 in 17 countries across the Middle East and North Africa based on a sample of 4,000 people earlier this year.
The survey also found that 87 percent of young Saudis do their shopping online, another big jump in just a short space of time, which has been accelerated in recent months by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government’s handling of the pandemic was approved by an overwhelming number of young Saudis, with 91 percent strongly in favor of the measures taken to protect public health.
The survey, based on a 50/50 split between men and women, also shed interesting light on the changing attitudes of women in the Kingdom.
Twelve percent of young Saudi women think they have more rights than men, 50 percent say they have the same rights as men, and 74 percent say they have greater or equal access to quality education.
Young Saudi men and women polled agree equally — around 64 percent — that a woman can benefit her family the most if she works full-time or part-time rather than stays at home.
Foreign views of Saudi Arabia have changed significantly in recent years, according to the survey.
Young Arabs in 17 states view the Kingdom as the top rising power in the region, and it is seen as having increased its influence in the Arab world more than any Arab country in the past five years.
Sunil John, president and founder of ASDA’A BCW, the consultancy that has produced the survey for the past 12 years, said the results reflect the changes that have been underway in the Kingdom due to the Vision 2030 strategy.
“Youth clearly view these efforts as having been instrumental in positioning the Kingdom as a rising power,” John added.