Young people’s happiness at lowest since 2010, says Children's Society

By agency reporter
August 31, 2017

The Good Childhood Report 2017, produced in partnership with the University of York, is the sixth in a series of annual reports published by The Children’s Society about how children in the UK feel about their lives. The latest report shows that young people’s happiness is at its lowest since 2010, and says "Government cuts are having a devastating impact on children."

Fear of crime, living in a family struggling to pay the bills, moving home many times, and not having enough emotional support at home are just some of the serious problems that leave teenagers more likely to be unhappy. 

Fear of crime is damaging the well-being of 2.2 million teenagers in the UK, with one in three teenage girls fearful of being followed by a stranger and one in four boys worried they will be assaulted.

One teenage girl interviewed by the charity said, "[They’re] blowing kisses, men beeping, standing asking [your] age, whistling, shouting, stopping vans next to you, asking for [your] number".

A 13 year old boy said, "You’ve got to fight to like kind of survive around this area. You have to stick up for yourself the whole time."

Closely following this fear were the worries of 2.1 million teenagers whose parents are struggling to pay the bills. Other disadvantages identified in the report include having a parent with a serious illness, suffering neglect and being at risk of homelessness.

The Children's Society's survey of 3,000 10-17 year olds revealed that more than half (53 per cent) have experienced at least three hardships in the last five years, making them markedly unhappier. 

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society said, "It is alarming to see that millions of teenagers are contending with a multitude of problems in their lives and suffering as a result.

"Teenagers are coming under pressure in all areas of their lives, whether it’s being afraid to walk down their street, worrying about money, or having a parent who’s seriously unwell and this is damaging their well-being. Sadly we know many of these teenagers will only get help if they reach crisis point – such as running away from home, or abusing alcohol or drugs. With a £2 billion funding gap for children’s services looming, children are increasingly finding themselves with nowhere to turn, putting them at greater risk." 

The Children’s Society is calling for the government to urgently address the funding shortfall in children’s services – predicted to reach £2 billion by 2020 – and for local government, police forces, schools and other local agencies to work together to improve the well-being of children in their area.

The Good Childhood Report 2017 can be downloaded here

* The Children's Society https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.