UK `sleepwalking’into childhood crisis amid growing social pressure, benefit cuts – NGO

London-based NGO, Action for Children, said on Tuesday that the UK had been experiencing an “emerging childhood crisis” amid growing social pressure and benefit cuts being experienced by kids.

Chief Executive officer of the NGO, Julie Bentley, said that based on a research conducted, nearly two-thirds of parents and grandparents believed that modern childhoods were getting worse.

The NGO, which cited a poll conducted jointly with YouGov, noted that the majority of grandparents (62 percent) and parents (60 percent), as well as 33 percent of children suppose that “childhoods today are getting worse.”

The main reason, according to the poll, is “unparalleled social pressures” that the kids are confronted with, including bullying both online and in reality, as well as rising concerns about “adult issues.”

The latter bloc of problems notably reveals that 38 percent of youngsters surveyed are worried about Brexit, while between 41 percent and nearly 50 percent of respondents are concerned about poverty and homelessness, terrorism, environment and inequality-related issues.

“The country is sleepwalking into a crisis in childhood and, far from being carefree, our children are buckling under the weight of unprecedented social pressures, global turmoil, and a void in government policy, which should keep them well and safe,” Bentley said.

He argued that the government, over the past decade, “has been asleep on the job when it comes to investing in our children” and called for action.

“The next Prime Minister must wake up to this growing crisis and put our children first. We want to see the establishment of a National Childhood Strategy, so departments right across government can get a grip on these issues, backed with funding to deliver urgently needed services to keep children safe from harm,” Bentley stressed.

According to the charity, funding for local authority children’s services in England dropped by 29 percent between 2011 and 2018, while the number of kids living in poverty increased to 4.1 million last year. 

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