Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Climate change and poverty are as much of a threat as terrorism for many young people

31st March 2017

young-692285_1920_Pixabay_CC0 Public Domain_no att needed.jpgWISERD research reveals young people’s views on threats to life and democracy in Europe. In Dr Rhian Barrance's recent article on The Conversation she discusses the five key issues, including terrorism, climate change and poverty that concern young people in secondary schools across Wales the most.

Surveys carried out in 2016 by the WISERDEducation research group asked almost 700 secondary school students (aged 13 to 18-years-old) what they considered to be “the most important problem facing Europe today”, to see whether their perceptions differed from adults’, and also whether views varied by age.

“International terrorism dominated as the greatest problem for Europe among our participants. But looking at different school year groups, a more nuanced picture emerged.

“Of Year 9 students (13 to 14-years-old), 44% considered terrorism to be the biggest problem, but this rate fell to 33% of Year 11 students (15 to 16-years-old).

“Interestingly, the older students were more likely to see climate change as the most important problem for Europe.”

Dr Barrance goes on to consider the possible reasons behind these findings, including timing of the research and the perception that “terrorist attacks may also be seen as more threatening in general because they have clear perpetrators. By contrast no one group or individual can be blamed for climate change, making it seem less tangible as a threat.”

Dr Barrance said, “the surprising finding from our survey is that such a high proportion of Year 13 students considered climate change to be a pressing issue, more so than found in some studies of adults’ views.”

Read the full article on The Conversation.

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