Children around world take part in survey that gives insight into what makes them tick.

They may not face many in New Zealand, but Kiwi children rate dangerous animals as their biggest fear.

And when our kids grow up, they want to be professional athletes, according to a global survey.

But children in developing countries want to become people who help meet the the basic needs of their community, such as teachers, doctors, nurses or dentists.

The third annual Child Fund Small Voices, Big Dreams survey was released today in conjunction with Universal Children's Day.


More than 6200 children across 47 developed and developing countries - including 720 from New Zealand - were asked about their hopes, dreams and fears and their thoughts on the environment.

Despite 60 per cent of Kiwi kids experiencing earthquakes, they said they were more concerned about pollution than natural disasters.

And when they were asked what they were most afraid of, dangerous animals trumped violence and crime, the world ending and the dark.

Alex Gordon, 10, doesn't like spiders - especially when they get too close or try to bite you.

The student at Kauri Park School on the North Shore said he also didn't like the dark. But that's because "you can't see properly so you can stumble into things and hurt yourself", he said.

Violence and crime is the top fear of children in war-torn developing countries such as Afghanistan (30 per cent) but in Sri Lanka, children most feared ghosts (40 per cent).

Shona Jennings of ChildFund NZ said Kiwi kids' fear of dangerous animals was one of the most surprising results of the survey.

And when Alex grows up, he wants a part-time job as an actor and to also be an architect. But classmate Stella-Rose Pirie-Marsters, 11, wants to be a netball player.

In New Zealand, 18 per cent said they wanted to be a professional athlete. Children in developing countries, though, most want to work in medicine.

Kiwi kids v the world
If you could grow up to be anything you wanted, what would you be?

* NZ: Professional athlete 18 per cent
* All developed countries: Professional athlete 19 per cent
* All developing countries: Doctor/nurse/dentist/healthcare provider 27 per cent

What are you most afraid of?

* NZ: Dangerous animals 26 per cent
* All developed countries: Dangerous animals 21 per cent
* All developing countries: Dangerous animals 29 per cent

If you were president or leader of your country, what would you do to improve the lives of children in your country?

* NZ: Provide for basic needs: food/clothing/shelter 32 per cent
* All developed countries: Provide for basic needs: food/clothing/shelter 25 per cent
* All developing countries: Improve education/provide enrichment opportunities 50 per cent