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Half a million children 'unhappy'

Half a million school children in Britain are unhappy with their lives, according to a new study.

The Good Childhood Report 2012 found that one in 11 youngsters (9%) aged between eight and 15 have a low well-being at any given time.

It also revealed that unhappiness increases dramatically with age - more than tripling from the age of eight (4%) to the age of 15 (14%).

The Children's Society, which published the report, said children with low levels of happiness are much less likely to enjoy being at home with their family, feel safe when with their friends, like the way they look and feel positive about their future.

They are also more likely to be victimised, have eating disorders or be depressed, it said.

The study, launched by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, saw experts analyse the interviews of more than 30,000 children aged eight to 15. It found that family has the biggest impact on their happiness, with loving relationships between a child and their family 10 times more powerful than family structure in increasing well-being.

Researchers discovered that stability was also an important factor in young people's well-being, with children who experience a change in the people they live with twice as likely to be unhappy. Almost a quarter (23%) of children who have moved home more than once in the past year also showed low levels of well-being.

Elaine Hindal, the society's childhood director, said: "We are calling for a radical new approach to childhood, placing their well-being 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."

Dr Sentamu added: "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 are unhappy with their lives should be a wake-up call to us all."


From Belfast Telegraph