Founded in 1925, today marks International Children's Day, a day to focus on tackling the issues specific to our children and the world they are growing up in. The key issues we will all have to guide them through as best we can.
Of course, there are the same issues of poverty and education which have troubled kids around the world for centuries, but in an age of huge technological advancement, there are a number of significant issues specific to kids growing up today. How do we go about looking after our children's best interests in a world full of ever changing temptations? How do we stop modern life from ruining modern childhood?
The World Health Organization (WHO) regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century. The stats are scary - a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese (Public Health England).
You don't have to be a genius to know why this is happening. Diets full of sugar, hidden or otherwise, and a generation of kids who would rather spend an afternoon playing video games than climbing trees. But even with the best will in the world, it's all too easy to buy pizza for tea when you've been at work all day and keep the kids from getting under your feet with one of the many kids TV channels. Is it something we're all guilty of?
2. Social Media I suppose being in my late 20's I've been able to reap the rewards of social media without having to withstand the severe effects it seems to be having across the younger generations. I got my Facebook account 10 years ago when I left school, the perfect time for it really, allowing me to keep in touch with friends as we all split off into the next stage of life.
But what was an exciting new way to keep in touch has rapidly become a device that seems to be making kids feel more vulnerable and alone. Last year there were NSPCC).with young people who talked to ChildLine about online bullying and safety and have been a victim of cyberbullying (
Over the past few years, social media has done a lot of good - charity campaigns, small business launches, keeping long distance friends and families together - but the 'fake reality' represented on social media sites is proving to have a detrimental effect of the minds of our children. Gone are the days when kids can muddle through their horrid teenage years quietly. Instead their lives and the lives of their friends now need to be documented in an Instagram feed of selfies and material possessions. The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980's and the 2000's (Young Minds) so what do we do to stop our kids becoming a statistic?
3. Sexualisation of Children
Gone are the days when your kid's pop pin-up wore denim jeans and a tight perm a-la 1980's Kylie. These days your child is more likely to want to shake her ass like Rihanna or roll around on the floor like Rita Ora. As a music lover myself, I'm always interested to hear about what songs my nieces and nephews are into but find myself becoming increasingly horrified by the You Tube videos they play me of their favourite tracks. It seems that in the world of children's pop you can't escape scantily clad stars gyrating up against sweaty members of the opposite sex.
I'm beginning to sound like a prude I know! Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed growing up with Britney and Christina as much as the next person but there were always limits, a respect for watersheds etc. This particular problem is obviously more problematic for young girls, as it is they who are the subject of this sexualisation, most of the time. But paired with the huge increase in the availability of porn, all easily accessible to kids, worrying statistics are starting to appear, not just about children having sex younger but about how this desensitisation to sexual images means psychological problems into adult life.