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The Week Junior poll: Kids are acutely aware of what's happening in the world — and ready to shake things up

'Children are more aware of — and knowledgable about — current events than adults might think'

Inflation, gun safety, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and solving food insecurity are just some of the issues Generation Alpha cares about.

The new Junior Voices survey from The Week Junior and YouGov found that Generation Alpha (kids born since the late 2000s) are acutely aware of what's happening in the world, and they're talking about it — 81 percent of respondents between the ages of 8 and 14 discuss current events at least once a week with family and friends, with 29 percent saying they have daily conversations about the news.

When asked how learning or talking about current events makes them feel, 47 percent responded "curious to learn more specific topics in the news," and another 47 percent replied "concerned about the future." The kids were also asked to select up to three of the most important news events of 2022, and 55 percent selected the rising cost of goods; 50 percent chose the Russian invasion of Ukraine; 38 percent picked the approval of COVID-19 vaccinations for young children; 34 percent said gun safety; and 31 percent chose record heat waves and droughts.

"This year's Junior Voices survey shows that kids have strong points of view on the issues that matter to them," The Week Junior Editor-in-Chief Andrea Barbalich said. "They want to be heard. Children are more aware of — and knowledgable about — current events than adults might think. Parents, teachers, coaches, and others have an important opportunity to foster age-appropriate discussions and help kids process news events. At the same time, adults can learn from children by initiating topical conversations and listening to their perspectives."

A majority of the respondents — 86 percent — said they wish adults would listen more to kids. When given the option of picking up to three issues they want elected officials to pay the most attention to, 38 percent picked managing inflation; 35 percent chose protecting people from gun violence; 33 percent selected solving food insecurity; 31 percent said protecting the environment; and 29 percent chose ensuring equal access to good education.

The kids were also asked the first thing they would do if elected to public office in their community or state, and 27 percent said they would make sure all residents had food, shelter, clothing, and other basic needs met, while 15 percent said they would do something to decrease gun violence and another 15 percent said they would offer assistance to schools so all students could receive a quality education.

These kids are ready to shake things up — 82 percent hope to inspire other young people to make a positive change in the world, 72 percent believe their actions can make a difference, and 77 percent said they are not afraid to express their opinion if they disagree with something.

Survey methodology: YouGov surveyed 748 children between the ages of 8 and 14, from August 12 to August 30, 2022. The kids were reached via their parents online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. children between the ages of 8 and 14.

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