14ymedio, Havana, 23 January 2016 — New technology and the consumption of audiovisual material a la carte are gaining ground among Cuban teenagers. Only 45% of teenagers claim to watch national television, according to a study conducted in November 2015, which the official Press has reported on this week.
Research was conducted through a questionnaire administered to 2,051 individuals and personal or group interviews to another thousand, a representative sample of the 1,381,135 people that are between the ages of 10 and 19, roughly 12% of the population, according to the Cuba 2015 Statistical Yearbook.
Keyla Estévez García, a researcher from the Center for Youth Studies who lead the study, stressed the importance of this study and pointed out that these adolescents’ behavior definitely “resembles the Cuba of today, transformation, changes; and needs to be understood from this new context.”
Study participants were chosen from two municipalities in each territory. About 59% are residents in provincial capitals and 13.5% live in municipalities of Havana, especially from Plaza of the Revolution, Old Havana, Arroyo Naranjo and Boyeros. Of the study group, 44% are female and 54% are male.
More than half of the participants want to enroll in University and obtain a high-level degree, while one-fifth of the study sample will settle for finishing college preparatory training.
Close to 10% only aspire to finish high school, prepare to work as a skilled laborer or work as a mid-level technician.
At least 27.6% of participants chose not to respond or was unsure as to which profession they would like to pursue. Medical science was at the forefront of professional aspirations, followed by the hard sciences with the humanities in last place. This scenario may represent a vocational reorientation implemented in schools.
However, students’ opinions about their schools were very negative. Only a few respondents believe that school is a place where they feel happy, their rights are respected or where they can defend their beliefs. Only 11% opined that schools taught them what they needed to know.
The official press says that a “not so insignificant” share of these teenagers sees school as a boring place, where they do not want to be but are obliged to go. They classify school as a dogmatic, closed and uncreative place.
A “not so insignificant” share of teenagers sees school as a boring, dogmatic, closed and uncreative place.
As for having fun, they like to listen to music, go to the beach, pool or rivers, visit family and friends and consume audiovisual products, but they read little and hardly visit museums. The national television programs fail to attract more than half of those who prefer other options like the “weekly packet” (for which there is no data in the questionnaire), content shared through USB or mobile phones.
The majority of respondents said they had computers, internet access, music players and mobile phones, in that order. “A high number of adolescents can access the internet from Wi-Fi zones, which implies expenditures, generally covered by their family,” indicates the official press.
For these adolescents, the main use of information and communication technologies is photo exchange, music, videos and games, although they are also used to study. These technologies generate happiness and many develop a sense of superiority when they acquire one of these technologies
As far as consumption habits, 12% of adolescents’ surveyed smoke and 36% of them drink alcoholic beverages, while 2% of them admitted to using toxic substances. The age of onset for these habits is between 14 and 15.
Sexual relations begin early, especially in urban zones. Close to half of the study sample began having sexual relations between the ages of 14 and 15.
These adolescents’ idols have little to do with political figures or with those associated with the official ideological discourse. In sports, predilections point to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, while in the artistic world preferences are for Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Selena Gómez. Among national artists, Reggeaton singers Yomil, el Chacal or el Príncipe take precedence over other artists.
The absence of questions about political preferences, immigration and their perception on the rest of the world, in a survey conducted one year after the reestablishment of relations with the United States, is striking. Nevertheless, the report did not provide direct access to the study itself and its complete data.
Translated by Chavely Garcia