Monday, September 18, 2006

Childhood crisis!

After the grumbles a week ago about childhood being 'poisoned', the Archbishop of Canterbury has decided to join in. Very helpful. And we have now been presented with all manner of statistics intended to make us all very concerned about children and their prospects and we are also being asked to contibute our views on what makes a 'good childhood' to the Children's Society inquiry, being patronised by the archbishop. (The Children's Society is a Christian organisation.) If you want to join in, go here to submit 'evidence'. You only have until the middle of November, mind, so it had better be quick. You fill in a different survey according to whether you are a child (<18), an adult (18 years+), or someone who works professionally with young people. Only the last category, note, is prompted to make clear the basis on which they are answering the other questions by an important initial question:
What do you understand by childhood? What does a good childhood mean to you?
The rest of us, perhaps too dim to think this is an important first step or else because our views on this matter are thought irrelevant, just jump in. Both adults and children are then asked:
What things do you think stop children today from having a good childhood?

They are not asked to say if there is anything they think that is currently condusive to a good childhood, positive and useful.

I have no idea what happens to this evidence, but we shall no doubt be treated to another publicity round some time near Christmas, when spoiled children will once again be on the agenda.

By the way, one of the statistics released today surprised me. This, from the BBC report:

A Children's Society survey found that 93% of 14 to 16-year-olds questioned said
their carers or parents cared about them, but only 63% thought their parents
understood them. The 11,000 questionnaire responses also found that 24% said
they had "sometimes" been bullied or "picked on" because of who they were.

63% sounds high to me (I am surprised any teenagers think their parents 'understand' them, and I would be very surprised if 63% of parents do understand their teenagers) and 24% sounds very low. Perhaps things aren't all that bad!

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