For youth today, the world they were born into feels broken. The gap between their aspirations and their reality is wide. They’ve come prepared, however, with open minds and elastic hearts.

Viacom Global Consumer Insights’ study of over 7,000 young people aged 16-24 in 14 countries* found that youth are using three life strategies to survive and thrive in this difficult world: Unapologetic. Sensitive. Restless.

Youth fluidly adapt these life strategies according to their current context, like the mood they are in or the company they are with. Combined, these three life strategies form their toolkit for coping with the struggles of daily life.

Unapologetic: Youth have reached a tipping point where it’s better to be unapologetically yourself than to present a polished but inauthentic image. It’s all about keeping it real and having a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. They are done with keeping up appearances.

Sensitive: They’re weary of shallow friendships, tired of looking up to unattainable Instagram accounts and sick of collecting likes from strangers. Instead, youth want to build meaningful relationships. They yearn for true intimacy with their parents, family and friends.

Restless: In a world with endless possibilities and limited time, many youngsters feel the pressure to make the most of it. Ambitious people inspire them. They work harder, try harder and attempt to be the first, the best.

Click here to see all articles from our Youth in Flux project.

* This project employed a range of qualitative methods (video diaries, ethnographic interviews, an online community and a co-creation ‘pajama party’), as well as a survey of almost 7,471 people aged 16-24 across 14 countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK, USA.