What Can We Learn About Kids from Nickelodeon & MTV?

Nickelodeon and MTV recently announced their findings from their Wellbeing Study of kids and young people across the globe. The study looks at differences and similarities with today’s youth across fourteen different countries. The data collected in this study reveals noteworthy differences between developing nations (Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa) and developed nations (Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, UK, US). This study groups its participants into two major demographics; kids ages 8 – 15 and young people ages 16 – 34. Removing the research findings for young people to focus just on the findings for kids the following observations appear…

Experiences that all kids share:

  • Kids are growing up younger and appear to be experiencing higher levels of stress in their daily lives
  • Kids across all ages and in every country feel pressure to succeed
  • In 12 out of the 14 countries surveyed, two thirds of kids said that getting good grades in school was their top priority
  • The more news media outlets a nation has, the less safe kids feel regardless of where they come from in the world

Experiences that are different for kids in developing nations versus their counterparts in developed nations:

  • Kids in developing nations feel more positive about their future than kids in developed nations. They are also happier and expect to have more fun in their future
  • Kids in developing countries expect to earn more than their parents, while kids in developed nations expect to earn less than their parents
  • Bullying happens everywhere but it’s generally more of a problem in developed nations than in developing nations
  • Kids in the developing world are more patriotic than their counterparts in developed nations

What is noteworthy about this study is how MTV plans to use this research to generate new programs for young people ages 16 – 34. For example, one noteworthy concern for all young people across all nations is the worry about jobs and working. As a result, MTV plans to develop programs specifically for this demographic that demystifies the job market.

What insight is unveiled here for kids ages 8 – 15? What content could be created that would appeal to a broad base of kids everywhere? Certainly creating content that informs kids about media literacy skills and strategies to feel safe in their surroundings. If getting good grades in school is a major concern for all, what content could be created that empowers kids to be better learners? How can you create a lifelong love of learning with this information? While the findings suggest a path for how to make content more relevant, and possibly more appealing to kids, translating that relevance into successful content is the challenge. While the available data is limited, it defines universal issues important to kids and important to include in all new product development.

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