Focusing on the future…Kids face their hopes and fears

This month, LiveWire went on-line to explore kids' thoughts about the coming of the new millennium. It was clear that our kids have already thought a great deal about the future-an admirable level of seriousness emerged amidst a background of wonderfully...
January 1, 1999

This month, LiveWire went on-line to explore kids’ thoughts about the coming of the new millennium. It was clear that our kids have already thought a great deal about the future-an admirable level of seriousness emerged amidst a background of wonderfully silly anecdotal responses; overall, we were struck by their maturity and global awareness. Here’s what kids had to say about their hopes and fears for 1999.

What we found:

Our kids were quick to voice the significance of the last year of the century on both personal and global levels. Better grades overwhelmingly took the lead as the most important personal goal. Attitude improvement took second place (our kids want to be more kind, in general), and coming in third was honing athletic skills. Other common answers included acquiring a new skill, such as learning to cook or roller blade, and improving family relations.

On a global scale, kids gave serious pause to the signs of encroaching violence in schools and between nations. The threat of nuclear war was their greatest concern, and the Y2K issue was second on the kid-fear list-the possibility of the world ‘not being able to function’ while computers are ‘down’ is indeed a daunting prospect. Violence and crime came in third as our kids condemned violence in schools and the deaths of ‘too many innocent children and teachers.’

When we asked our panel to tell us what they would say to world leaders if given the chance, their answers focused on important worldwide concerns. Samantha, age 14, says, ‘My list would include issues about nuclear war, world peace and controlling terrorists. Humans do not need to fight.’ Matthew, age 12, working towards ending racism, would remind leaders that ‘all of us are created equally.’

What would our kids do if they were world leaders? Our panel overwhelmingly cited education as the best solution to global concerns. Education was voted the most important issue for 1999. Jenna, age 13 explains: ‘The biggest issue is improving education because if you have a good education, you won’t be as likely to do dumb things like drugs.’

Our kids were optimistic about discoveries and inventions to come in 1999. The

most common prediction was the development of cures for cancer and AIDS. Not surprisingly, kids also believe the advancement of technology for video games and computers is inevitable, but they really let their creative juices flow when asked to invent their own revolutionary gadgets; the innovations ranged from hover cars, to a new form of recycling, to jelly bean makers for your home.

What kids said:

Finally, we asked kids to name three dreams that they would love to see come true before the turn of the century.

‘One wish I have is to go to Disney World. I wish I could get a bunk bed, and get all the beanie babies ever made.’ Kayla, 11, Oregon

‘I wish that my mom would win the lottery, my dad would get his computer working and I could get a go-cart.’ Brian, 11, Washington

‘I wish that my mom gets married, that I could get a pet and that my brother would get a life.’ Jennifer, 12, Ohio

‘I would like a computer that would write down everything I said. It would make things a lot

easier.’ Cynthia, 13, New York

‘Maybe my family could move to the moon!’

Robert, 10, New Jersey

Next month:

LiveWire will explore kids’ toy picks and pans for 1998 and the new

year ahead…

Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, investigates a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Kid Think talks with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of more than 1,100 on-line families across the United States. Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York-based communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Paul Kurnit at 212-415-2992 or e-mail

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