What do we know about teens in the UK?

Here are some of the latest insights from our My Teen Life study:

They’re prone to some timeless teen concerns. Puberty can be an awkward time – and 59% of UK teens told us they worry about their appearance. Social circles are another concern, with half in the UK worried about being left out by their peers. UK teens worry a little less than teens elsewhere about not having a boyfriend or girlfriend, however (26% UK, 31% global). A majority of UK teens believe that being “true to yourself” is an important part of their identity – though this sentiment is slightly less widespread than among their global peers (84% UK, 91% global).

They’re big social media users – but they check it less often than their global peers. UK teens use social media an average of 32 times per day – less than global teens, who average 50 times daily. And while most describe themselves as “sharing and connecting,” they’re slightly below global teens on this measure as well (80% UK, 86% global). Similar to their global peers, 6 in 10 feel pressure to respond to a message within 30 minutes and 73% share something funny as soon as they come across it.

Close relationships with their parents give them confidence. Parents want openness and honesty with their teenage kids. Virtually all UK parents of teens say they want their teens to be able to tell them anything (96%) and feel it’s important to listen to their teen’s opinions (97%). And because they’ve been raised in such a supportive and receptive environment, teens enjoy letting others know what’s on their minds. In fact, 84% of UK teens say they like to share their opinions.

They’re wary of public authorities, but trust the police more than teens elsewhere. Similar to teens around the world, very few UK teens trust their government (3%) and religious leaders (7%). Interestingly, however, trust in the police is quite a bit higher than for global teens – 33% in the UK, compared with 18% globally.

Technology connects them to the world and gives them a platform to speak up. Globally and in the UK, teens are hyperaware of things happening around the world, with 73% of UK teens using technology and social media to stay up-to-date constantly. Nearly 9 out of 10 describe themselves as “curious about the world” – and through technology and social media, they see the world through other people’s eyes. They’re vocal about what they believe and think others should be, too. In the UK, 84% of teens think that people should have the right to stand up for their beliefs.

They’re ambitious and feel pressure to succeed in the future. In the UK as well as globally, 8 in 10 teens say they’re determined to make the most out of life. While some in the UK worry about not living up to their potential (54%), most describe themselves as adaptable and flexible (78%). Most are open to taking risks to get where they want to be – 86% believe it’s better to try and make mistakes than not to try at all.