Every 5 years, there is a new wave of teens. In a world of fast-paced change, what is life like for global 12- to 17-year-olds? What are their hopes, fears, ambitions?

For our latest project, My Teen Life, we spoke to nearly 5,200 teens in 32 countries.  We learned that many aspects of teen life are timeless and familiar. But the digital world has transformed the way teens communicate and see the world, making them pioneers of a new teenage experience. Here’s what we found:

In some ways, being a teen is the same as ever. Some things never change. Teens still go through puberty, worry about their appearance, experience social and romantic drama, and stress about school.

Social media strengthens teens’ IRL friendships and exposes them to new people and ideas. Through social media they are in constant conversation with friends, which enhances their IRL connections. Social media also expands their horizons by opening them to voices they wouldn’t otherwise have heard.

Teens are ambitious but choose incremental steps over grand plans. Change happens so fast that teens don’t see failure as the end of the road. Describing themselves as adaptable and flexible, they’re willing to change course as needed.

Close parental relationships give teens the confidence to share their opinions widely. Parents today really listen to what their teens have to say. And because their perspectives are so valued, teens are comfortable sharing ideas big and small on social media.

Teens appreciate others’ stories and are eager to use the power of their own voices. Teens want to see the world through other people’s eyes – and tell their own stories, too. When something doesn’t seem right to them, they will stand up for what they believe.