Half a century ago, NASA launched Apollo 11 which successfully managed to land men on the moon for the first time in history. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins instantly became an inspiration to many young minds. For decades after the moon landing, kids everywhere aspired to become astronauts as well. However, it seems trends have finally changed. As social media advances and continues to put in younger hands, dreams of space-traveling have been replaced with vlogging.
According to a survey conducted on behalf of LEGO by Harris Poll, children prefer the job of a YouTuber instead of an astronaut. The study tested their knowledge toward space and what they wanted to be when they grow up. It turns out that being an astronaut no longer holds the primary ranking. Surprisingly, space travel placed fifth while YouTubered ranked first meaning that kids prefer to upload videos to the Internet than travel space.
There were 3,000 children from the U.K., China and the U.S. between the ages of 8 and 12 surveyed for this study. The participants were given a list with five possible professions and they were asked to rank them according to what they aspired to become the most. The majority of the kids from the UK and USA said they wanted to be Youtubers, 30% and 29% respectively. Most children in China, on the other hand, still value a career as an astronaut the most, and only 18% preferred being a Youtuber, whereas 56% claimed they would want to travel to space.
Other options from the list included teacher, musician, and professional athlete. In China, kids ranked these three options as second, third, and fourth respectively. Kids in the UK and the US had the same ranking in the following order: teacher, professional athlete and musician with slight differences in their percentages.
Kids from China seem to have much more interest toward space-traveling. Although an explanation for this is unclear, it could be that this country’s education system places more emphasis on science and STEM careers. Maybe American and English children have less interest in astronauts because they rather seek a job that boasts creativity, fame, and fortune. When it comes to YouTube, kids have a lot more control and access to it, making it easier to identify themselves with Youtubers and more likely to imagine becoming one of them.
Studies like this one prove once more, how big of an impact technology has and will keep having on our lives. If platforms like YouTube can easily influence younger generations into what they dream to become, then we collectively need to pay extra attention to the content these influencers are feeding to the minds of young children. A society that has hundreds of Youtubers and Vloggers but has failed to produce enough doctors or teachers will be a disservice to future generations. It is platforms like this that require parents to closely monitor the information they are spreading.
Lego launched this survey in honor of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 and are planning an entire month of worldwide events to inspire the next chapter of space exploration.