What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up

Kids in China were more interested in space than kids in the UK and the US. So, what do you want to be when you grow up?

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up

At least in the United States and the United Kingdom, where kids are three times more inclined to aspire to be social media influencers than to fly into space, becoming an astronaut seems to have lost some of its allure.

However, Statista’s Anna Fleck writes that in China, the opposite is true, with more than half (56 percent) of 8 to 12-year-olds indicating that they would very much like to become an astronaut when they grow into adults and only 18 percent an influencer. This could be a foreshadowing of future hegemonic trends in China.

As part of a 2019 survey by The Harris Poll and Lego Group, over 3,000 kids were asked which career they are most attracted to, including influencer/YouTuber, astronaut, teacher, professional athlete, and musician. The responses are shown in the accompanying chart. They had a maximum of three possibilities.

Infographic: What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up? | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Although the precise cause of the disparity in aspirations is unknown, a number of factors are probably at play. One explanation, according to Eric Berger of Ars Technica, could be that science and space research are valued more highly in China’s educational system.

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After all, the survey revealed that kids in China were more interested in space than kids in the other two nations. When asked whether they thought people would one day live in space or on other planets, 95% of Chinese kids responded in the affirmative, compared to less than 70% of kids in the U.S. and UK.

Or maybe it has less to do with a lack of interest in space and more to do with how popular social media is in each country and how exposed each population is to it. China has started to tighten its regulations on such sites, especially when it comes to children, citing the risks of internet addiction and the detrimental effects on children’s eyesight, concentration, and mental health. This is in contrast to the United States and the United Kingdom, who have increased their use of social media in recent years.

Since the study was conducted, restrictions have been tightened further. For example, the Chinese TikTok app Douyin now has a “youth mode” that restricts usage to no more than 40 minutes a day or between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The app purportedly displays more political censorship and educational content than the international edition. In contrast, social media is subject to far fewer limitations in the US and the UK.

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