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The Good Childhood Report 2016

As a leading expert on children’s well-being, The Children’s Society knows how critical it is to speak to children and listen to what they have to say about their lives. For over a century, we have been showing children we are on their side and listening to what they tell us – and what we learn from this invaluable insight helps us to change the lives of vulnerable children and young people for the better. Understanding how children feel about their lives is a crucial part of the overall picture of the quality of life for children in this country. Children’s well-being is crucial, not just for their own lives, but for society as a whole.It’s reassuring that the majority of children in this country are satisfied with how their lives are going, but we cannot turn our backs on the 10% of children who feel their lives have little meaning and purpose. This year’s report uncovers emerging trends that give great cause for concern, and we must come together to act on these and make changes so that every child in this country has a good quality of life.

In this year’s report, our fifth annual Good Childhood Report, we have analysed data on time trends to look in detail at how children’s well-being is changing over time. A growing gap between girls’ and boys’ happiness gives a clear signal that concerted action is needed to prevent things from getting worse.

At a time when children’s mental health is of increasing concern, this report highlights the links between well-being and mental health issues. As they get older, girls feel increasingly unhappy with their appearance and experience anxiety and depression significantly more than boys. Our findings also continue to show the prevalence of bullying, with around half of all children having experienced bullying in the past month.

We are very proud of our groundbreaking research into children’s well-being, developed with the University of York. Our surveys of over 60,000 children have lifted the lid on important issues affecting children’s wellbeing, shaping the ways in which we can help children and young people to flourish. We will continue to support vulnerable children when they have nowhere left to turn, working hand-in-hand with children to make sure their voices are heard.