The majority of young people (60%) fear a decrease in prosperity caused by rising energy prices and inflation. More than half of the young people surveyed also say they are experiencing feelings of fear (58%) and sadness (51%) due to the Ukrainian crisis, with younger adolescents (12–15 years) more likely to be fearful. Moreover, concern that the conflict might spill over into Germany is an issue primarily affecting children aged 12 to 13 years (57%) and young people with lower (52%) and moderate (55%) levels of education. The majority of young people (55%) do not want Germany to become more involved in the war.
Global climate change is largely an issue for older and much younger adolescents, with almost 48 percent of 16- to 18-year-olds and 46 percent of 12- to 13-year-olds saying that they are very concerned about it. Few young people, on the other hand, are worried about the Covid pandemic. Here, it is the 12- to 13-year-olds who are more concerned than older adolescents (29% of 12- to 13-year-olds, 20% of 14- to 15-year-olds, 17% of 16- to 18-year-olds).
The current feelings among Germany's children and adolescents might not come as a surprise given the numerous threats and crises, but they should be cause for alarm. "Many children and adolescents received very little inspiration from outside sources during the pandemic and lacked opportunities to develop and participate. At the same time, young people have fears that we must take seriously. Especially in turbulent times, it is necessary to ensure young people can lead meaningful, fulfilled lives. This can only happen if we listen to children and adolescents and take their concerns and desires seriously," says Liz Mohn, president of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Liz Mohn Center.