What Other Kids Are Reading
KidsNation 2012 (Survey Results)
President Barack Obama will soon make an important speech called the State of the Union address. He is expected to say how the United States is doing.
But how would U.S. kids answer that question? And what's important to young people growing up in the United States today?
We teamed up with TIME for Kids magazine to answer that question by creating the KidsNation online survey. More than 5,000 kids responded with lots of optimism (which means positive, upbeat feelings).
About 58% of kids said their lives are going great and 54% said school is also going great — both percentages are significantly higher than they were in 2010. Also, 65% of kids said the world will be a better place 10 years from now.
More than 70% of those surveyed totally agreed with these statements:
- I'm an important member of my family.
- When I have a problem, there's someone I can turn to.
- My future is going to be great.
Bullying Is a Top Concern
But kids also shared some worries. Survey-takers 9 to 13 years old said they are more concerned about bullying than they were in 2010, the last time we conducted a similar online survey. Bullying worried 34% of kids in 2010, but now 45% said they are concerned about it. That might not be all bad, though. It could be that more kids are aware of bullying as an issue because schools, parents, and lots of other people are talking about it more.
But kids are feeling positive about the United States and their place in it, the survey showed. Most kids "totally agreed" with these statements:
- In the United States, you can grow up to be whatever you want to be (67%).
- All Americans have an equal chance at success (59%).
Most Kids Give Obama an A or B
And more than half of kids gave President Obama an "A" or "B" grade for his first 4 years in office. The State of the Union address will kick off his final 4-year term in office.
The top three issues for the president should be the economy, education, and the environment, according to the survey. But kids seemed to be feeling better about the economy than in 2010. Back then, only 24% said the economy was strong. But now, more than 48% of kids said the U.S. economy is strong. What does "economy" mean? It includes money, jobs, businesses, and whether people can afford the things they need and want.
When we asked kids about their future careers, they said that what's most important is to enjoy their job. Helping others came in second, followed by how much money they'll earn.
And when they grow up, kids said they think they'll need math more than any other subject. Reading came in second, followed by science.
The KidsNation survey answers were generally a little more positive than they were in 2010. One reason might be that this time, more younger kids participated. But even when we compared the 9- to 13-year-olds in both surveys, the results were more optimistic for 2012.
Being optimistic is more than just being nice or pleasant. It's actually good for you, experts are learning. But what is optimism? It's a kind of outlook or mental attitude — they way you think about things. One part of optimism means you are looking for and expecting good things to happen. That doesn't mean you are unrealistic or just ignore bad stuff that happens.
Another part of being optimistic is noticing the good things that are already happening. When someone asks how your day went, do you point out all the not-so-great things? Or do you search your memory for all the good things that happened and talk about those?
Whatever your answer, did you know you can get better at being optimistic? One way is to believe that you can take certain actions to make good things happen in your life. For instance, "If I study, I will get a better grade." Or, "If I study very hard and work very hard, someday I could become president of the United States." That goes for both boys and girls. According to the KidsNation survey, 86% of kids believe they'll see a woman elected president in their lifetimes!
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: February 2013
Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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