What’s life like for kids in Australia as they grow up in times of uncertainty and change?

We recently completed an analysis of Australian data from Viacom’s Kids of the World study, which included a survey of nearly 1,000 Australian and a total of 6,000 kids aged 6-11 from 30 countries, along with in-depth video ethnographies in 11 countries. Here’s what we found about Australian kids 6 to 11:

They’re happier and more independent than their global peers. Nearly all Australian kids feel happy (94%), nine percentage points higher than the global average. They’re also more likely to view themselves as independent (82% Australia, 76% global). The vast majority describe themselves as curious and creative (both 89%).

Their support system of family, friends and pets is a source of happiness and empowerment. In Australia, kids’ top sources of happiness are spending time with family (75%) and friends (60%). Aussie kids have an average of four best friends, and 60 percent said their best friend is someone in their family. They consider pets as core members of their households, someone they can confide in and share their secrets.

They want to save the world by making it a happier place. If they had special powers to solve any of the world’s problems, the top issue Australian kids would tackle is to bring happiness to the world (58%), followed by ending wars around the world (56 percent) and finding a cure for cancer (52 percent).

They’re resilient in the face of uncertainty and change. The world of today may feel tumultuous, but 81% of Australian kids believe it’s better to try things and risk mistakes than never trying at all. Almost two-thirds (64%) say they feel able to deal with whatever life throws at them.

But they’re not quite as confident, positive and optimistic as their global peers. While almost 90% of kids globally believe they can accomplish anything if they work hard enough, Australia is one of only five countries where less than 80% of kids agree. Australian kids are also slightly less confident (77% vs. 86% globally), optimistic (75% vs. 86% globally) and positive (80 percent vs. 85% globally).

To relax, they consume information and entertainment. Watching TV and playing games on a phone or tablet are among Australian kids’ top four ways to relax. This appetite for content breeds curiosity and creativity – nearly 70% of 6-11 year old Australians claim to use more than one device at a time, with 83% using their free time to build new skills including sports, learning new languages and even learning to make slime.