Most teens happy with life: new research says

A snapshot of 15 year olds’ happiness levels across the globe has found Aussie teens are generally pretty satisfied with their lives.

The Students’ Wellbeing: PISA 2015 results were released this week and have revealed Australian teenagers are as happy as most teens in the 72 countries which participated in the inaugural survey linked to the OECD’s PISA academic studies. The average life satisfaction score tallied across the countries was 7.3 out of 10. The survey examined students’ wellbeing in four areas of life, including; school performance, relationships with peers and teachers, home life and recreational activities.

Key findings of the survey included;

  • Schools are more than places to gain academic skills. Schools which nurtured students holistically, building social and emotional competencies – leading to resilience and a stronger sense of connectedness – enabled students to feel they had a better sense of control and satisfaction in their lives.
  • Certain parental activities positively impacted on students’ performances and life satisfaction. Students whose parents reported “spending time just talking to my child”, “eating the main meal with my child around a table” or “discussing how well my child is doing at school” every week were between 22 per cent and 39 per cent more likely to report high levels of life satisfaction than students whose parents reported engaging in these activities less frequently.
  • Students who took part in moderate to vigorous physical activity were less likely to report feeling anxious about school work or disconnected from school.
  • Bullying was seen as a major issue for teens, with on average one student per class reporting being a victim of physical bullying once per month across OECD countries.
  • Nearly 40 per cent of boys reported being satisfied with their lives compared to 29 per cent of girls.
  • Girls were more likely than boys to aim for top grades at school and wanted the ability to select among the best opportunities post-graduation. However, boys were more likely to describe themselves as ambitious and aspire to be the best in any activity.
  • On average, students spent more than two hours online after school and more than three hours on a typical weekend day. From 2012 to 2015, the amount of time teens spent online outside of school hours increased by about 40 minutes – for both weekday and weekend usage.