The not so happy childhood report

Published: Tuesday September 3, 2019

The recent findings from the Children’s Society Good Childhood report are a real wake up call to the unhappiness of young people in our country.

Their key findings show

  • An estimated quarter of a million 10-15 year olds in the UK may be unhappy with their lives
  • Boys are becoming less happy with their appearance
  • Happiness with friendships is in decline
  • Any experience of financial strain or poverty in childhood is linked to lower well-being by age 14

The findings around boys being unhappy with their appearance are unfortunately not a shock to us in the Diocese of Gloucester. For the last three years we have discovered through our #liedentity campaign that pressures to look a certain way affect boys just as much as girls.

The findings show that that nearly one in 12 boys (7.7%) aged 10 to 15 years old – the equivalent of 180,000 – are unhappy with their appearance.

Although boys remain consistently happier with their appearance than girls, the gap has narrowed and boys’ happiness with their appearance was significantly lower in 2016-17 than it was in 2009-10.

We have learnt through #liedentity that boys usually idolise the bodies of professional sports players and feel inadequate about how they look. Most boys are affected by what they see on social media, although advertising also plays a big part.

Through Bishop Rachel’s campaigning we hope to change the message that who you are, is all about how you look and we are proud of the partnership work we have done with the Children’s Society to raise awareness of these issues and develop resources to encourage positive self-esteem.

Listen to the views of some boys who told us how they felt about the pressure to look a certain way – Newent Community Secondary School #liedentity 

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