Kids don't miss a thing.
And according to new research, they have more on their minds than just video games and dessert. A study from the University of York shows that the majority of youngsters share the same stress and concerns as their parents and the politicians of their countries.
In the Children's World Study, nearly 20,000 eight-year-old kids in 16 countries were asked about what was important in their lives, including family and home life, friendships, money and material possessions, school life, personal well-being, views on children’s rights and their overall happiness rates.
The good news: Most of the eight-year-olds in all 16 participating countries reported being happy with their lives as a whole. The heartbreaking news: More than a third of these kids reported being worried about money.
According to the study, upwards of 33 percent of the children surveyed said they "often" or "always" worried about how much money their families had. Those in Israel, Colombia, Spain and Nepal reported the highest levels of worry regarding finances, while kids in South Korea and Germany reported the lowest.
Another common theme among these children was bullying. Forty-eight percent of the young participants said they had been hit by other children at school in the last month, and 41 percent said they had been left out by classmates. A higher percentage of children who had reported being hit were from Estonia, England and Germany.
It's worth noting that some of the other findings were very positive.
Most children reported feeling safe at home, and more than half said they looked forward to going to school -- a number that declined as the children aged, the study found.
What's there to learn from seeing the world through the eyes of children? Professor Asher Ben-Arieh, one of the study’s researchers and co-chair of the International Society of Child Indicators, said the study's results "teach us first and foremost that children know better than anyone else about their lives and that any effort to improve it needs to be inclusive of their voices."
One way to be more inclusive of younger voices is to prioritize counseling and mental health in schools. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has been a profound supporter of children's mental health, launching the "Young Minds Matter" campaign last week to highlight its importance.
"While we cannot always change a child's circumstances, we can give them the tools to cope, and to thrive," the duchess said in a recent video. "With early support, they can learn to manage their emotions and feelings, and know when to seek help."
In the same vein, first lady Michelle Obama wrote how important it is to change the stigma surrounding mental health -- to view the illness as any other physical ailment and to treat it accordingly. It will be interesting to see how reports from the Children's World Study and others change as a focus on mental health and counseling grows increasingly congenital within our cultures.
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