A UNICEF landmark poll has shown that most Nigerian children are constantly under pressure to succeed more than the older generation.
According to a new international survey by United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF) and Gallup to mark the November 20 international children’s day, as many as eight out of every 10 Nigerian children or about 85%, responded that they feel a greater pressure to succeed than their elders.
The survey result also revealed that young people in Nigeria are facing a mental health challenge, with 1 in 6 aged between 15 and 24 years of age saying they often feel depressed have little interest in doing things, or are worried, nervous, or anxious.
The Nigerian result is regarded as the highest of all 21 countries surveyed, with young people in Lebanon coming at a close second.
The poll, “The Changing Childhood Project”, is the first of its kind to ask multiple generations for their views on what it is like to be a child today.
It surveyed more than 21,000 people in 21 countries, including Nigeria. Nationally representative surveys were undertaken in countries across all regions – Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America – and income levels, across two age cohorts (15-24 years old and 40 years old and up).
The survey – conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic – examines young people’s opinions about their mental health, worldview, trust in institutions, the importance of equality, climate change, and digital benefits and risks, among others.
Findings from the survey also show that young Nigerians are more concerned than young people in any other country surveyed about personal information being collected and shared online, at 72 percent. The next highest are young people in Indonesia, at 63 percent, and Kenya, at 54 percent.
Nigeria children and young persons also show high levels of concern about the risks of meeting someone in person after meeting them online, at 84 percent, slightly higher than children in the United States (81 percent) and Brazil (82 percent).
In the area of finances, Nigerian children showed a high level of concern, with 74 percent of females and 66 percent of males worried they don’t have enough money for food.
According to UNICEF Nigeria Representative Peter Hawkins, “Children and young people in Nigeria clearly have a high level of concern about many and varied issues, compared to their peers in other countries.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope these concerns will go away – we need to take action. And the first step is to solicit their views, really listen closely and allow their concerns and ideas to influence our policy decisions.
“The future of Nigeria belongs to its children and young people – they have the right to be heard, have their needs addressed and their solutions explored. It is only through commitment to understanding and investing more in our children and young people’s presents and futures that we can maximize every child’s potential and ensure they have a full and happy life”, said Hawkins.