At Viacom, we make it our business to understand kids and their families around the world. In this project, we took a deep dive into the world of global kids ages 2 to 5.

Through digital diaries, an online survey, and in-home ethnographies, we spanned 12 countries to speak to nearly 6,500 mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of preschoolers. We even strapped GoPro action cameras onto preschoolers so we could literally see the world through their eyes as they explored, learned, and had fun.

What did this work reveal?

The world feels unstable to parents today. They are hyperaware of dangers beyond their control. No matter the country, safety is a primary concern. Parents worry about violence, drugs and alcohol, bullying, health problems and financial difficulties.

Looking down the line to their children’s futures, the path to success is not as clear as it once was. Technology threatens to render many jobs obsolete – and it’s hard to project what may replace them, or which skills will be most valuable when their kids reach adulthood.

Preschoolers’ parents are deeply aware of these challenges and uncertainties. As a result, they’re modifying their parenting style. Where prior generations sheltered their children to protect them, today it feels safer to expose kids to more than in the past. Parents want their kids to be flexible and adaptable.

In other words, they are preparing their preschoolers right now to be life-ready.

Click here to see all articles from our Little Big Kids project.

* Countries surveyed: Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States.