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Study notes: Almost half of UK teens feel uncertain about the future

Childwise reports that teens worry about careers, grades, the pandemic, growing up and money, and kids are less concerned about the environment these days.
February 18, 2022

This week, Kidscreen looks into the annual “2022 Childwise Monitor Report,” which tracks media habits, usage and attitudes among kids in the UK. We’ll be exploring some key findings that indicate what kinds of content young viewers may be looking for in the year ahead. We’ve looked at what kids are watching, how they spend their time online, and now we’re digging into how they’re feeling. 

After the lockdowns, social distancing and virtual hangouts that defined the last year, five- to 16-year-olds in the UK aren’t feeling very optimistic.

After surveying almost 3,000 of them, research firm Childwise has found that kids are feeling less healthy and happy overall, and only 44% said they are excited about the future. Many reported feeling uncertain, anxious, worried and even sad about what lies ahead.

Uncertainty was a dominant emotion, with 30% of kids across all ages saying they felt unsure about the future, and girls more so than boys. Unsurprisingly, the older kids get, the more this feeling pervades—while only 17% of seven- to 10-year-olds expressed uncertainty, this stat climbed to 39% for 11 to 16s and 48% for 15 to 16s. Their concerns include future careers, getting good grades, the pandemic, growing up and money.

These same worries are likely contributing to their perception of self-health, which has been in a modest but sustained decline since 2019. Although 80% of kids described themselves as healthy in 2021, that’s down from 82% in 2020 and 84% in 2019.

Climate change dominated kid conversations in 2019 in the grip of Greta Thunberg’s “School Strikes for Climate,” but this concern has dwindled in the face of a two-year pandemic. Only 64% of seven- to 16-year-olds said they are concerned about climate change and global warming, down from 74% in 2019. And a growing number of kids (25%) said they’re not concerned about climate change and global warming at all.

The reason for the fall-off is sobering: although 67% said they are hopeful that humans will find ways to overcome the world’s environmental problems, that’s down from from 73% in 2019. Kids also reported being less inclined to pay more for environmentally friendly products than they were in previous years, with only half saying they’d shell out extra for such products, a 9% drop from 2019.

The “2022 Childwise Monitor Report” is based on interviews the research firm conducted online with 2,727 kids ages five to 16 in the UK from September to November 2021.

Photo by Janko Ferlič via Unsplash.

About The Author
News editor for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at rtuchow@brunico.com

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