Children are the unhappiest they have been for almost 25 years, new data reveals, as charity experts blame “excessive social media use” for their increasing loneliness and turbulent friendships.
Almost a quarter of a million children in the UK – around 219,000 – report being unhappy with their lives as a whole, according to The Children’s Society.
The charity is warning that the decline in happiness, which is now at a record low for 10-15 year olds, is a “national scandal” exposing huge failings for the country’s most vulnerable children. It cites increasing issues surrounding boys’ appearance and body image, social media pressures, school and a lack of strong friendships as potential driving factors for plummeting happiness levels.
Mark Russell, chief executive at The Children’s Society said: “Modern childhood is a happy and carefree time for most, yet for too many it is not. It is a national scandal that children’s unhappiness is increasing so quickly.
“Today’s young people are becoming progressively unhappy with their friendships – one of the fundamental building blocks of well-being – as well as appearance and school. We also know that excessive social media use is a factor linked to children’s low well-being.
“Children are also burdened with fears ranging from worrying about the future, not having enough money to not feeling safe at school and bullying. Many young people tell us they feel side-lined and ignored by those in power.”