Young People In Finland Reveal Country’s Greatest Threats

Russia, immigration, terrorism and marginalisation are considered threats by young people in Finland.

File photo of young people / Credit: iStock

What do young Finns think are the greatest risks they face?

According to research by Aalto University Professor of Cyber Security Jarno Limnéll, they worry more about inequality in their own country, than any external threats.

“It is very important to keep Finland as a society with equal values, so that young people remain motivated to defend it” says Limnéll.

“The old Winter War story is not longer, in itself, a strong motivating fact” he adds, referring to the short conflict that Finland fought over the winter of 1939-1940 against the Soviet Union, which stirs strong feelings of patriotism among many Finns, especially the older generation.

“If we are a weaker country, then the impact of external threats is bigger. This is how young people think” Limnéll sums up.

The findings are revealed in a new study by Limnéll and military scientist Dr Jari Rantapelkonen, which will be published next Tuesday, about the attitudes of young people in Finland towards national security.

In Eastern Finland, Russia is regarded as a threat, immigration in the West

Limnéll says his research has revealed, among other things, that the concerns of young people vary depending on where they live.

Young people in the Helsinki capital city region are particularly worried about being marginalised from society. In western Finland, they are concerned about immigration and terrorism. Many young people from eastern Finland say they consider Russia a threat. While in the north, young people are concerned about about the availability of security authorities, like police.

“In addition, many young women said they wanted to play a greater role in Finnish security,” says Limnéll.

“Instead of underestimating or silencing women’s interest [in this topic], we should think of ways to increase women’s participation” he adds.

“This does not mean compulsory military service for women, but, for example, information on home preparedness and courses on cyber security”.

Limnéll also says that the role of media in society, and the influence of so-called ‘fake news’ is something that concerns young people.

However, he points out that the strongest influence on young people is not the media or internet, but the people in their families, or peer group.