Aussie kids as happy as ever and less worried
What with climate change, economic uncertainty, social upheaval,
the threat of terrorism and technological advances so
mind-boggling they're practically sci-fi, the world can
sometimes seem like a daunting place. But Australian kids are
not letting it get to them: they are just as happy as they were
in 2007, and considerably less worried. In recognition of
International Youth Day (August 12), we take a look at how young
Australians are feeling about life these days...
According to Roy
Morgan Research's Young Australians Survey, Aussie children aged
6-13 are just as happy as they were back in 2007. And that's
very happy: 95% of girls and 94% of boys agree that "I am
happy". With a happiness rating of 98%, girls aged 10-11 are the
happiest of the lot.
On a similarly
encouraging note, the proportion of boys and girls concerned
about looking "cool" or having nice clothes has fallen. Big
issues such as terrorism and the environment no longer worry as
many of them, either.
Boys: maybe school's
not so bad after all
As the table below
reveals, there have been some discernible shifts in the
attitudes of Aussie boys towards some key subjects.
attitudes of Australian boys
Morgan Young Australians Survey, January-December 2007 (n=1,172)
and January-December 2014 (n=1,162). Base: Australian
Not only do almost
seven out of every ten boys report that they 'enjoy going to
school' (up from 63% in 2007); but reading has also grown in
popularity (72%, up from 67%), with the 10-13 age bracket
showing the greatest uptake.
Computer games are
starting to rival playing outside as a preferred leisure
activity, with 41% of boys now saying they'd 'rather play
computer games than play outside' (up from 35% in 2007). The 6-7
age group is the most likely to feel this way, with almost half
saying they prefer computer games to outside play.
Girls: the sound of music
Munching on healthy food and reading hold even greater appeal
for Australian girls now than they did in 2007. Some 87% say
they 'like to eat healthy foods' (up from 81%), while 82% enjoy
reading (up from 77%). These activities are particularly popular
among the 6-7 age bracket (90% of whom like eating healthy food
and 87% of whom enjoy reading).
The shifting attitudes of Australian girls
Source: Roy Morgan
Young Australians Survey, January-December 2007 (n=1,112) and
January-December 2014 (n=1,242). Base: Australian girls
Music matters to more girls
than it did in 2007, with 30% agreeing they take music with them
everywhere (up from 23%). Girls aged 12-13 are the primary
impetus behind this growth.
Michele Levine, CEO, Roy
Morgan Research, says:
"Our findings show some
noteworthy attitudinal shifts among young Australian boys and
girls over the past few years. While their happiness levels
remain very high, they also seem to be worrying less.
image-related concerns such as looking cool and having nice
clothes has declined among girls and boys. While more than half
of Aussie girls still consider having nice clothes to be
important, and more than half of boys still want to look cool,
these figures are substantially lower than they were in 2007,
suggesting that a growing number of kids no longer see the need
for this kind of external validation.
"Despite the media's
ongoing fixation with terrorism, fewer kids are worrying about
it these days, which is great news. Their declining concern
about the environment is a little more ambiguous: while it's not
fair for kids to have to worry about serious issues like this,
one would hope they don't forget about it altogether.
"Technology continues to
influence children's lives, with more girls taking music with
them wherever they go (presumably in digital format) and a
growing proportion of boys preferring computer games to playing
outside. Despite what those of us from the analogue generations
may think of these developments (particularly the latter),
they're here to stay. And so far, they do not appear to be
having a negative impact on our kids' happiness..."