A new global research project conducted by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), surveyed over 6,200 kids aged 9-14 across 32 countries--one of the largest studies of its kind.
The âKids of Today and Tomorrow Truly Global Explorationâ study focused on what VIMN valls âlast wavers,â or the youngest Millennials, born between 2003 and 2008. The findings point to several key traits that shape these kidsâ world views and make them distinct from older members of this generational cohort.
Kids of today and tomorrow are more âweâ than âme.â
The youngest Millennials extend their positive spirit to also include a commitment to community and the wider world around them.
- 88% believe itâs important to help people in the community, with 61% having taken part in an effort to raise money for charity in the past year.
- 94% believe itâs peopleâs responsibility to protect the environment.
Advances in digital media play a large part in broadening horizons and inspiring kids to use the power they have at their fingertips in a positive manner:
- 85% agree âmy age group has the potential to change the world for the better.â
- 71% agree âhaving access to the internet changes the way I think about the world.â
However, they donât see this as anything out of the ordinary or think of themselves as âtechyâ:
- 2 out of 3 kids think that being connected is as much a part of everyday life as eating and sleeping â itâs simply how life is today. As a consequence of being constantly connected in a fast-moving world, it is natural for them to constantly adapt and be open-minded. They are resilient and life-ready.
- To reach these confident kids, it is important to communicate with them with a tone of positivity, smart but not cynical humor; and a playful approach, in line with the fun and happiness they seek in life.
- Kids respond best to authentic brand messages: they recognize when someone is trying to sell them, so be honest.
- Itâs important to be both globally and locally relevant.
Kids of today and tomorrow are grounded.
Authenticity is a key value for kids today and they live with their feet firmly on the ground.
- 94% report wanting to be true to the close circle around them and 93% to be true to themselves. When it comes to the people who inspire them or the people they trust most, itâs all about close family and friends. They might feel inspired by celebrities and sports stars, but they know not to trust them.
- 49% of the youngest Millennials name a family member as their #1 best friendâ rising as high as 90% in Morocco and 87% in Brazil.
Kids of today and tomorrow are confident.
Todayâs youngest Millennials are overwhelmingly happy and optimistic.
- 88% consider themselves very happy, with happiness levels in this age group increasing over last six years.
- Spending time with family and friends is the top factor generating happiness in most countries. Young Millennials enjoy doing activities together as a family.
- Humor is important to young Millennials, who use it strategically to navigate life: 64% agree âI use humor to help me get my way.â
- Happiness outweighs stress by a factor of 3 to 1: while almost 9 in 10 young Millennials describe themselves as very happy, only 24% report high levels of stress, with stress levels falling since 2006.
Kids today are re-calibrating their sense of what it is to be stressed as well as happy: they have grown up in a world of constant change and global economic crisis â for them, this is the norm.
- Even in Greece, where the economic crisis is particularly acute, stress levels are only 36%. The highest stress levels among 9-14s are actually in Singapore and China (41% and 39%) â caused almost certainly by the highly pressured education systems in those countries.
- In general, the youngest Millennials are characterized by an optimism with which they approach challenges: 90% agree âI can accomplish anything if I work hard enoughâ and 89% agree âI always try to be positive.â
At the global level, these high levels of happiness, low stress and growing positivity are combining to form a âvirtuous circleâ of mutual support that helps kids create an overall sense of confidence.
- Belief in themselves: 65% believe not only that they are smart but also that they are smarter than other people.
- Belief in their future: Despite everything, a large majority (84%) believe they will earn more than their parents
- Belief in their generation: This is the winning generation â¦ the expression â#winningâ suits them perfectly and is acknowledged by many more 9-14s than by older Millennials (77% vs. 66% of 15-30s)
- Belief in their creativity: 89% believe their creativity will help them to keep on winning in a fast-paced world.
Kids of today and tomorrow are simultaneously more and less sheltered.
The difference is very clearly defined: in the real world, they are much more sheltered than in the past, with parents restricting and controlling their interactions with everything. However, given advances in technology and access to a wide range of devices, there is often relatively little protection â kids have unprecedented exposure to global ideas and images.
- 43% own their own computer/laptop and 28% own a smartphone.
- 61% have a social media account (and 11 years is the average age for having a first account â despite being below the age threshold set by many social platformsâ Terms & Conditions).
- 9-14s have 39 online âfriendsâ they have never met (up from five since 2006).
Kids of today and tomorrow are proud to be.
The youngest Millennials are increasingly expressing a sense of affinity with their country. Their sense of national pride is growing stronger and they are more likely than six years ago to believe itâs important to maintain their countryâs traditions.
- 87% agree that they are âproud to be [their ethnicity]â up from 81% in 2006.
- 79% agree âitâs important to maintain my countryâs traditions,â up from 60% in 2006.
- At the same time, they are tolerant of other cultures: 74% think itâs great to have people from other countries living in the kidâs country.
This VIMN study is based on 6,200 interviews with the 9-14 age group (at the time of research, born 1998-2003, which we have defined as âlast waversâ within the Millennial generation) across 32 countries (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, US, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Hungary, Poland, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa).
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