10 Sep 2007

Letter in the Daily Telegraph from Childhood Experts

10 September 2007

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children's Society said:

‘Today's letter in The Telegraph is a much needed reminder of the current crisis of confidence in childhood. Recent research has shown that the UK is one of the worst places in the western world to be a child. A year ago The Children’s Society launched the UK’s first independent inquiry into childhood. So far over 12,000 professionals, adults and children have contributed their views. This overwhelming response highlights the growing concern about childhood today.

As mentioned in today’s letter, play is one of the crucial elements of a good childhood. Our research has revealed that children’s freedom to play out with their friends is being curtailed by adult anxiety about the modern world, with most adults believing children should not play out unsupervised until they are aged 14 or over*.

Evidence received by the inquiry panel shows that playing with friends is fundamental to children’s wellbeing and development and yet we appear to be failing them in this crucial area.

The Good Childhood Inquiry allows us the opportunity to resolve this contradiction by rethinking the kind of lives that we want to create of our children.’

Notes to Editors:

* The Good Childhood Inquiry is the UK’s first independent inquiry into childhood. It will examine what makes for a good childhood and create a new vision for the twenty-first century. The inquiry’s final report and recommendations will be published in November 2008. For more information please visit www.goodchildhood.org.uk

* *GfK NOP conducted a total of 1,148 interviews with a representative sample of UK representatives aged 18 or over. A summary of the findings can be downloaded from www.goodchildhood.org.uk.

* Bob Reitemeier is available for interview. Please call Zoe Mason, campaigns and media officer on 020 7841 4637 or zoe.mason@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out of hours call please call the media mobile on 07810 796 508