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Cost of living overtakes environmental concerns among children

A new survey suggests that one in ten children aged 10-17 are unhappy with their lives due to worries about rising prices and their families having enough money to survive.

The kids are not alright!

According to a new survey conducted by the Children’s Society, more than 2 million children in the UK are finding that money worries are surpassing their concerns about the environment.

This is a stark change from last year’s survey when 41 percent of young people said they worried about climate change and the environment the most. This year, that figure fell to 37 percent.

On money matters, the report indicates that 1 in 3 young people are apprehensive about whether they or their family will have be able to financially sustain themselves in the future.

Of course, this worry first starts with caregivers.

Four out of five parents or guardians say they are deeply troubled by the escalating cost of living and its implications for their families. These financial anxieties are casting a shadow over the well-being of both young people and their guardians.

‘Children who always worried about money were several times more likely to be unhappy,’ said the Children’s Society. This includes concerns about how much choice they have in life and their housing.

Interestingly, the report also revealed that there is a gender disparity when it comes to happiness about the future.

Girls are significantly less content than boys with almost every aspect of their lives, except for schoolwork. This highlights the need for a closer examination of what factors are contributing to this unhappiness so that targeted interventions can take place.

Jonathan Townsend, UK Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust, pointed to these findings as a stark reminder of the toll that the rising cost of living is taking on the well-being and aspirations of young people.

While the majority (74 percent) of children felt positive about their own futures, less than four in ten felt positive about the future of the country and the world.

The fact that nearly half of all young individuals express pessimism about the state of the world is concerning. It emphasizes this generation’s deep desire for a just and equitable future.

The Children Society’s findings were released in tandem with a study by the Trussell Trust, which showed that half of working households receiving universal credit payments had run out of food in the past month, unable to afford more.

Universal credit, the primary welfare benefit for low-income and unemployed individuals in the UK, is now falling short of covering the real costs of essentials like food and energy.

Based on these surveys, it’s obvious that the rising cost of living is having a real effect on the well-being and aspirations of young people and their perceptions of money, the opportunities it brings, and how the world looks different for people who have enough of it.

‘Life is just too hard for too many children,’ said Mark Russell, CEO of the Children’s Society. He called the continued dip in children’s happiness a ‘national scandal.’

In light of these revelations, the Children’s Society is advocating for the government to make crucial changes.

They are calling for an increase in child benefits, the establishment of cabinet-level positions for ministers dedicated to children’s issues in both the UK and Welsh governments, and the annual measurement of children’s subjective well-being, with a particular focus on girls.

These proposed measures aim to address the multifaceted challenges faced by Gen Z in order to set the course for a more promising and equitable future.