Friday, 13 January 2012

Britain, already no country for old men, is also an unhappy one for half a million children

Almost one child in 10 over the age of eight are unhappy, according to a landmark survey by the 'Children's Society', which questioned more than 30,000
youngsters aged 8 to 16 in Britain and pinpoints family relationships and 'materialistic traps' behind their low well-being.

The Charity's researchers found that family had the biggest impact on children's happiness and relationships within a household rather than the family structure most affected the emotional wellbeing of young people.

The Society said that :
'at any one time, 1 in 11 or 9% of 8-15 year olds, had 'low levels of subjective well-being' and across the population, that equated to just over 500,000 having low levels of subjective well-being.'

The picture which emerges is that :

* the number of those saying they felt 'low' doubled from the age of 10 at 7%, to the age of 15 at 14%.

* material wealth does appear to affect a child's happiness and children as young as eight were aware of the financial issues their families face.

* children who do not have clothes to 'fit in' with peers are more than three times likely to have low well-being than those that do.

* school also brings many children down, with 1 in 10, unhappy about their 'relationships with teachers' and one in six are unhappy about the 'amount they feel they are being listened to at school'.

In a foreword to the Society's Report, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said :
'an analysis of the subjective well-being of children is not simply a question of how well our children are doing, but an acid test for our society.'

Elaine Hindal, Director of the Campaign for Childhood at the Children's Society, said:
'We are calling for a radical new approach to childhood, placing their wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. Our research has exposed that how children feel really matters. We know that, right now, half a million children are unhappy. We have discovered the key reasons for this unhappiness and what we can do to make it better. We want our country to be the best place for our children to grow up. Yet unless we act now we risk becoming one of the worst and creating a lost future generation.'

Lord Layard, the economist, said:
'This important research reveals the true picture of children's well being in the UK today. The Children's Society has used its extensive research and deep experience in this area to help us view childhood in a fresh and significant way. Everybody involved in shaping children's lives should sit up and take note of this report.'

The Archbishop said:
'The moral test for any society is how it treats its most vulnerable, including its children. The fact that at any one time half a million children who are unhappy with their lives should be a wake-up call to us all.'

What a sad country Britain has become.

P.S. My previous post about Lord Layard :
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Britain needs Lord Layard and Gareth Malone as a Ministers of Happiness

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