What’s life like for teens in Saudi Arabia today?

Our recent project My Teen Life spanned more than 5,100 teens aged 12 to 17 across 30 countries, including Saudi Arabia. Here are key findings from an analysis of Saudi data:

Saudi teens check social media less frequently but are quick to respond to messages. They look at their social media feeds less often than teens elsewhere – 29 times per day, compared with a global average of 50 checks daily. When they get messages, however, they’re much more likely to feel pressure to respond within 30 minutes (73% Saudi Arabia, 61% global).

They’re eager to share on social media. From life milestones to everyday mundane moments to random things that make them laugh, Saudi teens put it out there for their social networks. Most of them (90%) describe themselves as “sharing and connecting.” The majority (86%) say they share something funny as soon as they come across it, ranking #2 in this measure among the 30 countries surveyed.

They have smaller and more intimate social circles. Compared with their global peers, Saudi teens have one less person on average who they consider to be a best friend (3.5 Saudi Arabia, 4.4 global). They’re also more likely to say they seek genuine relationships with others (85% Saudi Arabia, 79% global).

Social exclusion and bullying are major concerns. Saudi teens are more likely to worry about being left out by peers (64% Saudi Arabia, 59% global). Of the 30 countries surveyed, they ranked first for having been bullied online (38% Saudi Arabia, 19% global). Bullying in the real world is slightly higher than online, and more on par with the global average (41% Saudi Arabia, 42% global).

Like teens everywhere, they stress about dating and worry about their appearance. Concerns about not having a boyfriend or girlfriend are greater among teens in Saudi Arabia (39%) than globally (29%).

Saudi teens are ambitious and determined. In Saudi Arabia, most teens (90%) say they’re determined to make the most of life, compared with 82% globally.

They’re more adaptable and very resilient. Saudi teens ranked fifth among the 30 countries surveyed in describing themselves as flexible and able to adapt to change quickly (90% Saudi Arabia, 82% global). And in Saudi Arabia as well as globally, 9 out of 10 teens believe it’s better to try and fail than not to try at all.

Their parents seek close relationships with them. Over 9 out of 10 Saudi parents of teens want their teens to be able to tell them anything, and all parents surveyed feel it’s important to respect their teens’ opinions.