Childhood getting worse, parents and grandparents say

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Bullying, peer pressure and social media cited as serious concerns in cross-generational survey. 

9th July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Most Scottish parents and grandparents believe childhood is getting worse, a survey of three generations has found.

The study, conducted by YouGov for Action for Children, found 58% of Scottish parents and 61% of grandparents think childhood was better in their day.

Meanwhile, around one in three (31%) children surveyed agreed that childhood was getting worse.

Asked whether children have a brighter future, 45% of Scottish parents and 46% of grandparents in the survey disagree – up on the UK figure of 42% and 41% respectively.

The survey found that bullying was the major obstacle to having a good childhood, with the majority of all three age groups citing it as a serious concern.

Peer pressure and expectations to look and dress a certain way were concerns for 61% of children and parents, while 57% of parents and 60% of grandparents worried about the time youngsters spent on social media and electronic devices.

More than four in ten (42%) of children also expressed concerns about the effects of digital communications and online bullying.

Action on Children said the cross-generational survey was a warning of an “emerging crisis” in modern childhood.

The charity published the figures as it is launched a new campaign called Choose Childhood to mark its 150th year.

Paul Carberry, Action for Children’s director for Scotland, said: “It’s Action for Children’s 150th birthday and this research shows there is so much more work to be done in the face of a chronic lack of investment from the UK Government.

“Here in Scotland, we work closely with the Scottish Government on all issues affecting our children and there is a genuine commitment to improving children’s lives across the board through GIRFEC, Best Start Grants and establishment of the independent care review.

“It’s crucial in this era of intense fiscal pressure that the focus on early intervention and mental health remains. Our three generational survey shows that children today, far from being carefree, are struggling under the weight of social pressures, complex global issues and increasing levels of mental health issues.

“We must ensure that the Scottish Government and local authorities continue to Choose Childhood and we urge the next Prime Minister to properly fund children’s services, stop punitive benefit changes and end the austerity agenda that has proved so harmful to our children and young people right across Scotland and the UK.”