What are kids like in Nigeria and South Africa – and how do they differ from their global peers?

To answer this question, a new analysis of a Nickelodeon Kids & Family GPS study of kids 9 to 14 in 32 countries offers insights about Nigerian and South African children. Here are key findings from this project:

They’re content. Like most children around the world, kids in both countries consider themselves to be very happy – 90% in Nigeria and 79% in South Africa (vs. 88% globally).

Nigerian kids attribute their happiness to doing well, either now or in the future. They report their most important sources of happiness as “being successful” (67%) and “being what I want when I grow up” (50%). Personal achievement is their main priority, in contrast to kids in most other countries, whose top source of contentment is time with family and friends.

Relationships are the main source of contentment for South African kids. Spending time with friends (56%) and with family (51%) are among the things that make them happiest.

Kids in both countries are confident and optimistic. Compared with other kids around the world, Nigerian kids are more likely to agree that they can accomplish anything if they work hard enough (98% Nigeria vs. 90% South Africa, 90% globally). Overall, they are more likely to believe they’ll earn more money than their parents (90% Nigeria, 93% South Africa vs. 84% globally).

But they’re concerned about living up to high expectations. They worry most about doing well in school (94% Nigeria, 83% South Africa) and making their parents proud (91% Nigeria, 85% South Africa). Nigerian kids also worry about having enough money for their education (89%). For kids in South Africa, personal safety is a source of significant anxiety (77%).

TV alleviates anxiety and makes them happy. Watching TV is the main stress reliever for 63% of kids in Nigeria and 50% in South Africa. They are also more likely than kids around the world to agree that TV is the “best driver to happiness” (43% Nigeria, 52% South Africa vs. 32% globally). In fact, virtually all kids in both countries say they love TV and couldn’t live without it (98% Nigeria, 90% South Africa vs. 78% globally).

Their parents – moms especially – are inspiring. Mom is the person in their lives who inspires kids in these countries most, according to 94% in Nigeria and 91% in South Africa. Dads are the next most inspiring people to them (80% in Nigeria, 86% in South Africa). Additionally, in Nigeria, teachers are very influential – 53% of kids there say their teachers inspire them.

Mom is a good friend, too. In Nigeria, 51% of kids also list their mom as their best friend – considerably more than school friends (18%).  Mom is the #2 best friend among South African kids (25%), preceded only by school friends (40%). Fewer see their dads as best friends (10% Nigeria, 21% South Africa).