One in ten children (9%) in the UK admit to being unhappy most of the time, according to research from the latest CHILDWISE Monitor Report 2017.
Unhappiness increases with age until it peaks among teenage children - 16% of 13-16s say they are not happy most of the time.
However, it is teenage girls who suffer most, with one in five (18%) feeling unhappy most of the time compared to 14% of teen boys.
In contrast, half of younger girls are more likely to describe themselves as ‘very happy’ (49% compared with 40% of boys) during their primary school years.
Simon Leggett, research director at CHILDWISE says: “The data shows that teenagers are the most stressed and anxious group, especially teen girls.
“Teenagers’ top concern is stress about school work, followed by general feelings of worry or anxiety, and thirdly experiencing fears that they are not good enough,” he adds.
Meanwhile, the Monitor data shows that a quarter of 9-16s find it difficult to go for several hours without checking their devices (mobile phones, tablets etc) and a quarter have missed out on sleep because they spend too long on these. One in five would like to spend more time without their devices and this increases to 42% of teen girls who would like to switch off more often.
Concerns about physical appearance intensify with age, with girls more likely to experience these feelings than boys.
“However, this is by no means a problem exclusive to girls with boys facing a great deal of pressure to look and behave in a certain way too,” says Simon Leggett.
“For example, 68% of girls age 11-16 say they have felt pressure to diet, but weight loss is not only a concern for girls – nearly half of all boys this age (44%) say they have felt pressure to lose weight,”
“Girls are more likely than boys to have experienced any of the listed concerns – but in most cases it is evident that these are not problems exclusive to girls,” says Simon Leggett.
Despite the pressures, one in five say they wouldn’t talk to an adult because they fear not being taken seriously and one in five don’t even know who to ask for help.
Other data from Monitor 2017 finds…
All data from the CHILDWISE Monitor Report 2017 - now available
One in five teenage girls is unhappy most of the time – but boys are also feeling the pressure, says new research