Why it’s great to be a Queensland kid
QUEENSLAND children are growing up resilient and hopeful and feel lucky to live in the Sunshine State.
A new survey of almost 4000 Queenslanders aged four to 18 revealed the majority of teenagers - 55 per cent - felt hopeful about their future.
The Growing Up in Queensland interim report looks at kids' experiences with their community, their aspirations and their views about barriers to their goals, as well as the issues they believe are important for people their age.
The Queensland Family and Child Commission's report also revealed only about 70 per cent of Queensland youth already in school plan to finish their studies and about 50 per cent aspire to go to university.
But Queensland Family and Child Commission Chief Executive and Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said the interim report it told "a story of optimism".
"Overall children and young people who responded in the nearly 4,000 cohort are very resilient and very hopeful but at the same time they know about and acknowledge the anxiety they have and their families have about COVID-19," she said.
"But they know they are fortunate to live here in Queensland where the impact is not so great."
Ms Vardon said Queensland children continued to focus on the "bigger picture".
"They know the COVID-19 is part of their life … but they have been through bushfires, floods, they're Queenslanders, they know we get through it," she said.
"In the minds of young people, particularly the young people in years 10 - 12, there is a very clear understanding that their education must be maintained, there's a clear understanding education [leads to] further employment or further education," Ms Vardon said.
"And we must be careful to keep that pathway open for them and to encourage their hopes and dreams as usual."
The report said three values consistently emerged from participants: social interaction and recreation, concern about the environment, and care for others.
The issues of mental health, service access and discrimination also appeared in participants' responses, according to the interim findings.
But youth identified money as a barrier to achieving their hopes, with other obstacles being the pandemic's impact on schooling, discrimination, and mental health, the report said.
"With the current pandemic, school has become much harder as we do not have the support we would at school. I am struggling a lot with schoolwork and am very lost," one participant wrote.
Children aged eight to 12 years said the biggest issues to them were global warming, protecting animals and the environment and mental health.
Youth aged 13 to 18 said climate change, bullying, family violence, lacking mental health support, homelessness and discrimination were among their important big issues.
Joshua Seymour, 13 and his sister Piper, 6, said they love growing up in Woody Point but both hoped more a more environmentally-friendly future.
With a close-knit group of friends, Joshua said he engaged with the community by bonding over Lego with his two best friends.
Piper said her favourite things about living in her Redcliffe community was exploring the beach, drawing and playing with Lego.
Queensland Family and Child Commission Youth Advisory Council members Ben Jackman and Caroline Fleter said the report revealed the diverse views of young people and the issues they face.
"Young people are very concerned about COVID-19 and how long it is going to be going on for, and the homelessness rates from Covid," Caroline said.
"Young people are resilient, it's a theme that's also come across from young people in general, as well as in the report," Ben said.
Originally published as Why it's great to be a Queensland kid