How young people understand free time?

This year we interviewed 1012 10–20- year-olds around Helsinki on how they spend and understand their free time. Here are three main findings.

The order of choices

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Key observations:

  • Friendships rule over activities.
  • Both ’what’ and ’where’ are commonly agreed in a WhatsApp group.
  • We need to advertise the possibility to come with friends and to target groups.
  • Easy-to-use search tools allow young people to find things to do.
  • Invite A Friend and 2-for-the-price-of-1 programmes.
  • Encourage to share experiences on social media.

Definition of free time

 

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Key observations:

  • Need to find ways to boost the joy of learning.
  • Increasing voice and choice would be a tool to keep young people involved in hobbies. Currently 13–14-year-olds quit hobbies becausethey want to have more say on how they spend their time.
  • Hobbies are often seen as continuation of obligations, not as free time.
  • Importance of fun.
  • Hanging out is not inactivity. It is often very active such as cooking with friends, visiting a different neighbourhood or playing soccer.

Demands for free time

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Key observations:

  • Invest in participation, voice and choice. Gather feedback on experience.
  • Especially during the Finnish winter, teenagers need places to just hang out. During the summer sports arenas and soccer fields are popular.
  • The older teenagers get, the less they want to hang out in child-like places. Children are a bigger problem than adults. 16-year-olds already identify tmselves as part of the adult world with cafes etc.
  • Crucial that you make a contact to someone during their first visit. Create possibilities to link loners to the group.


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