Barack Obama & Katie Taylor considered most inspirational role models for teenagers

Jill Holtz

May 28, 2013

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Who do you think teens and young people consider to be inspirational role models? O2 & Headstrong reveal findings from the latest O2 Think Big survey with some interesting results:

Donal Skehan, Sile Seoige and Paul Walsh 

The Think Big Survey Results

barack obamaThink Big has announced results from a survey recently conducted into what inspires young people in Ireland.

The findings make for interesting reading with Barack Obama coming out as the No. 1 choice with 14-25 years olds (24% choosing him) as most inspirational personality.

Katie Taylor was ranked second, with 20% choosing the Irish boxer. The young people surveyed praised her for being focussed, hardworking and determined with 43% agreeing that Katie winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics was the most inspirational moment of 2012.


One in Three 14-25 year olds select their parents as biggest inspiration in life

The importance of family to young people also came through in the survey with a third (35%) of Irish 14-25 year olds naming their Mum or Dad as their biggest inspiration in life. Some 22% selected a sports star or a musician as being their biggest inspiration, and a further 7% chose a teacher or a lecturer, for the reason that they are regarded as a source of direction and support.

Technology and Inspiration

Other findings of note include that 90% of those surveyed believe technology (including the internet and smartphones) has made it easier for them to find sources of inspiration and 81% believe they have the power to help and inspire others. Passion, confidence, being encouraging and honest are qualities young people believe can help them motivate others which is a core aspect of the Think Big initiative.

Dr. Tony Bates, Founding Director of Headstrong, commenting on the research, said: “The presence of One Good Adult, which can be a lone parent, teacher, mum, dad, god parent, GAA coach or a teacher, is a key indicator of how well a young person is connected, self-confident, future looking and most importantly can cope with problems and challenges.”

About Think Big

Think Big is a programme to inspire young people around the country to promote positive mental health in their local community. Think Big was created by O2 in partnership with Headstrong and is open to any young person in the Republic of Ireland, aged between 14 and 25, with an idea for a project that will make a difference to young people’s mental health.

In addition to funding, each Think Big project group gets support from O2 and Headstrong in the form of mentoring and training to help them to bring their project to life. Projects are encouraged to incorporate digital and social media elements.

Over 5,000 young people have participated in Think Big since it was set up in late 2010, with over 300 projects approved for funding nationwide. In addition, 200 employees from O2 have signed up as mentors to help young social entrepreneurs bring their project ideas to life.

For further information on Think Big, log onto

Would your teen be a big fan of Barack Obama or Katie Taylor? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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Published On: May 28th, 2013 / Categories: For Parents / Last Updated: February 22nd, 2015 / Tags: /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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