There is no doubt that children are the future, and as leaders of tomorrow, their ability to protect the future for us all, depends on what we do today to achieve a more equitable, just and sustainable world for everyone.
Children are raising their voice about their concerns about the world, but they are also aware of the important role they have in generating positive changes in their communities. Thus, on the eve of the United Nations Act4SDGs, a week to generate awareness and promote action towards achieving United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, KidZania presents the results of the 2019 Kidea Report with the topic “Global Problems from Children’s Perspective”.
The Kidea report is an annual research study developed by KidZania, one of the most innovative and fastest growing edutainment concepts in the world, which aims to better understand children’s perceptions about different topics, make them feel empowered and heard.
Tarandeep Singh Sekhon, Director-Marketing at KidZania India said, “Every year, KidZania develops studies that give us a deeper understanding of children’s issues and their world. The findings of these studies help us evolve and model our parks in ways that address the issues plaguing kids, which in turn makes KidZania the most loved Edutainment concept across the globe. The Kidea 2019 report has helped us understand what kids perceive as the biggest problems in the world.”
In its 2019 edition, the Kidea report focused on finding out which are the issues that concern kids around the world. Boys and girls aged 7 to 12, in 10 KidZania Cities in 6 different countries, including India (Mumbai and Delhi), Indonesia (Jakarta), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Mexico (2 in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey), Turkey (Istanbul) and United Arab Emirates (Dubai); shared with us which are the most prominent global problems and voiced their concern about the impact of these issues in their surroundings.
The Kidea Report revealed that gender and age affect kids’ concerns. While girls worry more about wellbeing, boys are more concerned about violence/safety & security. Moreover, girls tend to be more optimistic about the future since they believe society still has time to revert the current global problems.
In terms of age, younger kids (7-9 y.o.) perceive the world through more immediate optics, while older children (10-12 y.o.) start looking beyond their closest contexts and identify more complex problems like wars, lack of safety and security, and child labor.
Children’s perception about the world is deeply influenced by characteristics that define Gen Z kids worldwide:
- They are the first 100% digital generation, which gives them an expanded/limitless perception of the world
- They are constantly searching for out-of-home experiences
- They have a deep sense of community
- They describe themselves as change agents in current world issues
These features give them a broader perception of the world and a sense of “globality”. Due to the easy access, they have to several communication platforms, children are more aware of everything happening around the world; being TV shows and the internet their most frequent sources of information.
When it comes to the topics that concern them the most, children mentioned several topics. However, three issues were the most prominent:
For children, wellbeing is perceived as a given. This is a concept they associate with health, education, nutrition and the protection of children’s rights. More importantly, they believe that this concept is rooted and depends on their family. Children perceive this topic as a prominent problem, since they are aware that for many children these elements are absent. From their perspective, the sole possibility of their family being absent would translate into loneliness, sadness, hunger and frustration.
2) Violence/ Safety & Security
Violence and insecurity are topics kids are familiar with. However, due to the distress and discomfort caused by discussing these issues, children prefer to avoid them. They feel exposed and vulnerable, because they feel there is almost nothing they can do to prevent or avoid these situations.
Regardless of the region, children identified bullying as the closest form of violence they face, and they are fully aware of the emotional implications of such behavior.
In terms of safety and security, kids’ perceptions depend on the region they live in. In countries like Indonesia, Mexico and India, where kidnapping happen on a regular basis, children see it as a close and regional issue. Instead, war is perceived as something foreign and distant, unlike in countries like Turkey. Nonetheless, war is perceived as the problem with most severe impact and its implications generate empathy among kids, despite their country of origin.
For children, the environment is a fascinating subject because it connects their generation’s most important and relevant values. Despite their country, they all agree this is a global issue that truly concerns them because they know they are the ones who will suffer the consequences of the environmental impact caused by overexploitation of resources, pollution, animal endangerment, etc.
Environmental pollution is the issue with the most information and evidence, and they assume that solving this is a global movement. For them, people must take action to contain and revert this problem.
In overall, children have a wide understanding of the problems that affect them on a local and global scale; and even though they perceive some difficulties to overcome complex issues like bullying or pollution, children are convinced that they can contribute and do their part. In the end, it is up to us as society to prove them right, foster their skills, provide them with the necessary tools, and empower them to create a better world