Social networks influence Z’s negative opinions of men and women

Social networks influence Z's negative opinions of men and women

Social networks can influence our perception. And according to a study, young people from Generation Z have more negative opinions about men and women than the rest of the population. The cause: increasingly stereotypical content and an avalanche of negative content online.

Would the Zs be more negative than average? And could it be due to social networks and the time they spend on them. According to a study by Morning Consult*, a significant proportion of Gen Z adults said that using social media has made them look negatively toward men (30%) and women (22%). Results significantly higher than for all adults in the United States and for all other major demographic groups, the study noted, with an average of 15% negative opinions for men and 12% for women.

The younger generations, more present on social networks, would therefore be more inclined to encounter negative content. They are also more likely than the general public to feel negative emotions after spending more than an hour on social networks, and platforms that generally encourage this duration of use, such as YouTube and TikTok which are among the most popular applications with Generation Z, recalls Morning Consult.

Good in his body, good in his head!

Users’ faults?

Online content is also singled out. Between the “Sleepy Girl Mocktail”, the “mob wife”, the “clean girl”, the “Pottery Boy” or the “Pick me boy”, certain trends have surfed on gender stereotypes. Even recently, female influencers denounced online harassment of subscribers of the creator “abbregefrere” without forgetting the trend of podcasts by men with misogynistic comments.

It must be said that Generation Z is the population most likely to practice “doomscrolling”, the act of compulsively scrolling through negative information on their smartphones and on social networks. Nearly a third of American adults who use social media (31%) said they do doomscrolling “a lot” or “sometimes.” Among Generation Z adults, this proportion reaches 53%, compared to 46% among Millennials 46%, explained Morning Consult.

For 62% of Zs, excessive consumption of this type of negative content is only the fault of the users themselves. Good news for the platforms which, despite the opinion of the respondents, will have to submit and are already doing so to moderate content going against community rules.

This is a significant PR win for the platforms, as most content that might qualify as ‘anti-sexist’ does not completely violate standard policies on misinformation, abuse or incitement to violence – and are therefore complicated to moderate“, underlined the study.

*Poll conducted February 17-19, 2024 among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.