MUMBAI: India's youth are hard working and inquisitive, regarding internet access as an opportunity to learn rather than shop, a new survey has found.

Music channel MTV spent six months questioning 11,000 respondents aged 13 to 25 in the AB socio-economic groups across 40 cities for its annual youth survey. When asked what the internet meant to them 32% cited learning, while 27% saw new opportunities and 23% said it gave them exposure to the world, as illustrated in an infographic on exchange4media.

At the other end of the scale, just 8% thought of online shopping, while a similar proportion mentioned pursuing a passion or hobby and making new connections and friends.

The words this age group felt defined them most included hard working (33%), open minded (26%), happy (25%) and confident (20%).

The survey suggested that easy access to the world and information via the internet, coupled with supportive parents, was a potent combination that had helped make this generation the happiest and most optimistic it had ever seen.

And money, while still important, played a much reduced role compared to three years ago; then, 85% regarded money as an indicator of success, but now just 54% held that view.

Similarly, 90% had seen money as a facilitator for bringing happiness but that proportion had fallen to 61%.

For Aditya Swamy, EVP and business head, MTV India, the major finding to emerge from the research was that "young people are using their curiosity to curate their lives".

"Brands are tapping into this curious generation and have realised that they cannot be passive any longer and need to make a stand to connect to the youth," he added, in remarks reported by Best Media Info.

Connection was another theme running through the report. For example, when asked to pick four things (from a 21-strong list) they spent their money on, 36% said mobile phone bills and 23% internet/surfing bills, putting these two in the top three spending options.

And regarding social media, the survey said that staying in touch with old friends was the primary reason for using these platforms (43%). Making new friends and meeting new people was no longer a major driver (4%).

Data sourced from exchange4media, Best Media Info; additional content by Warc staff