A troubled world through the eyes of children

A troubled world through the eyes of children

Highlights

We live in an era defined by three long-term challenges that shape the lives of children around the world. The first is the climate emergency. The second is the difficulty of separating truth from fabrication in the age of digital media. The third is the limited ability of our political institutions to drive positive change in a globalized world.

This phase of the Changing Childhood Project – a survey-based collaboration between UNICEF and Gallup – explores how children and youth around the world experience these developments compared to their older counterparts.

We asked respondents in 55 countries a series of questions as part of Gallup’s latest global poll to find out: How much do young people understand about climate change? Where do they find their information and how much do they trust these sources? Do they consider themselves part of their country or local community, or do they consider themselves global citizens?

The answers are often as informative as they are surprising. For example:

  • On average, in the 55 countries surveyed, only 50% of young people aged 15-24 years correctly identified the definition of climate change.
  • While many young people rely on social media platforms to stay informed, they are the least trustworthy of any information source the survey asks about.
  • On average, 27% of 15-24 year olds said they identified more with the world than with their own country or local area – nearly double the percentage of people over 65.

While our findings reflect deep fractures, they also help point the way to reform: the climate crisis, through education; The evolving information ecosystem, by supporting children and young people as they navigate it; and the tense global situation, by encouraging a different worldview among young people.

Listening to the views of children and young people themselves helps us focus them on working to improve lives for all children, today and in the future.

Dive in

We encourage you to visit the project’s interactive microsite, designed specifically for children and young people to engage with the project’s questions – including those asked in the survey – and explore some of its key findings. For those who want to dig deeper, the research tools are open to the public.

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