How do kids in Saudi Arabia differ from their peers around the world?

Drawn from some of our studies on global kids and families, here are insights on Saudi kids aged 6 to 11:

Saudi kids are self-assured, innovative, and ready to work hard. Saudi kids aged 6 to 11 are more likely than their global peers to describe themselves as optimistic (95% Saudi Arabia vs. 86% globally), confident (94% vs. 86%), and creative (92% vs. 89%). They’re also adaptable, with 73% feeling able to deal with whatever life throws at them – higher than the global average of 68%. And almost all (91%) believe they can accomplish anything if they work hard enough, compared with 87% globally.

Their parents encourage autonomy, which inspires their independence and entrepreneurialism. Saudi parents of 6- to 11-year-olds are more likely than their global peers to believe that parents should always give their children as much independence as possible (80% Saudi Arabia vs. 74% globally). This attitude has an influence, with 86% of Saudi kids considering themselves independent (vs. 76% globally) and 88% expressing an interest in starting their own business someday (vs. 62% globally).

Their parents also worry a lot about their family’s happiness, health, and safety. Saudi parents are substantially more likely than parents elsewhere to worry about several things – keeping their children happy (91% Saudi Arabia vs. 78% globally), their parents’ health and safety (91% vs. 80%), paying off debt (85% vs. 69%), being safe (82% vs. 69%), and finding work (82% vs. 60%).

They look inward when feeling stressed, turning to prayer and rest. To cope with stress, Saudi kids are substantially more likely than global kids on average to turn to prayer (50% Saudi Arabia vs. 17% globally) and sleeping or taking a nap (44% vs. 29%). When they want to relieve anxiety, they are less likely than their global peers to talk to friends or family (42% vs. 50%), watch TV (38% vs. 42%), or play games on a phone or tablet (36% vs. 37%).

The internet expands their horizons. Almost all Saudi kids aged 6 to 11 say they love technology (93% Saudi Arabia vs. 83% globally). And among kids 9 to 11, the internet is central in their lives. They’re more likely to say it’s introduced them to things they wouldn’t have discovered otherwise (85% vs. 76%) and to think that being connected to the internet is as much a part of everyday life as eating and sleeping (77% vs. 60%).