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
- 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
- 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
- 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.