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Children's Fears, hopes and heroes: Modern childhood in Australia

Authors:
Joe Tucci
Janise Mitchell
Chris Goddard
June 2007
Childrens fears, hopes and heroes
Modern childhood in Australia
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 2
Australian Childhood Foundation
PO Box 525
Ringwood Vic 3134
T (03) 9874 3922
F (03) 9874 7922
www.childhood.org.au
Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia
Monash University
PO BOX 197
Caulfield East VIC 3145
T (03) 9903 1120
F (03) 9903 1141
This document remains the intellectual property of the Australian Childhood Foundation.
No part of the document can be copied and/or distributed without the written consent of
the Australian Childhood Foundation.
Report first published in June 2007.
Copyright © Australian Childhood Foundation, 2007.
ISBN: 978-0-9585363-4-9
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 3
About the authors
Dr Joe Tucci is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Childhood Foundation. He is a social worker and
registered psychologist. He has extensive experience in child protection, child and family therapy and child
welfare research over the past sixteen years. He has recently completed a doctoral thesis exploring the issues
of child emotional and psychological abuse. He is an Honorary Research Fellow with the Faculty of Medicine,
Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University. He is a former member of the Australian Council for Children
and Parenting. He can be contacted by email at jtucci@childhood.org.au.
Janise Mitchell is a social worker and Manager of Education and Prevention Programs at the Australian
Childhood Foundation. She has extensive experience in child protection, high risk adolescents and public policy
analysis and the provision of consultancy to individuals and organisations on a range of issues including practice
and program development and review. She is also responsible for the development and implementation of
national child abuse prevention programs and is currently completing a Masters degree exploring the social
construction of childhood. She can be contacted by email at jmitchell@childhood.org.au.
Professor Chris Goddard is the Director of Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia at Monash University.
He has undertaken extensive research into child abuse and family violence. He has published widely in academic
journals and writes regularly for the broader media. His most recent books include Child Abuse and Child
Protection: A Guide for Health, Education and Welfare Workers, (Churchill Livingstone 1998), and Responding to
Children (Longmans, 1993), In the Firing Line (Wiley, UK) with Janet Stanley was published in 2002. A new book
entitled The Truth is Longer than a Lie with Neerosh Mudaly was released in 2006. He can be contacted by email
at Chris.Goddard@med.monash.edu.au.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 4
Australian Childhood Foundation
The Australian Childhood Foundation is an independent children’s charity working in a number of ways to
prevent child abuse and reduce the harm it causes to children, families and the community.
Counselling. We provide a range of specialist counselling services for children and young people affected •
by abuse and for their families.
Advocacy for children. We speak out for effective protective and support services for children and young •
people. All our programs affirm the importance of children.
Education. We provide community and professional education, consultancy and debriefing programs. •
These programs aim to improve responses to children and young people who have experienced or are at
risk of abuse, family violence and neglect.
Child abuse prevention programs. We run nationally recognised child abuse prevention programs that •
seek to decrease the incidence of child abuse and raise awareness about how to stop it even before it
starts.
Inspiring and supporting parents. We provide ongoing parenting education seminars and easily accessible •
resources to strengthen the ability of parents to raise happy and confident children.
Research. In partnership with Monash University, we have established Child Abuse Prevention Research •
Australia to research the problem of child abuse and identify constructive solutions.
The Australian Childhood Foundation won the 1998 National and State Violence Prevention Awards for its
efforts to prevent child abuse. In 2005, it was awarded the National Child Protection Award by the Australian
Government.
The Australian Childhood Foundation relies on the support of the community to enable it to continue its programs
and services.
Australian Childhood Foundation
PO Box 525
Ringwood Vic 3134
T (03) 9874 3922
F (03) 9874 7922
www.childhood.org.au
Report first published in September 2006.
Copyright © Australian Childhood Foundation, 2006.
ISBN: 0-9775355-2-5
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 5
Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia,
Monash University
Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia was established as a joint initiative between Australian Childhood
Foundation (formerly Australians Against Child Abuse) and the Department of Social Work at Monash University.
The Research Centre is part of the School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health
Sciences, Monash University.
Major goals of the Research Centre include the generation and dissemination of research findings and the
stimulation of discussion about issues in child abuse and child protection (See Appendix A).
Professor Chris Goddard is the Director of Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia, Monash University.
The research partnership between the Australian Childhood Foundation and Monash University has a proven
track record. Over the past 5 years, it has received support for major projects such as
listening to children’s feedback about protective, therapeutic and support services;•
understanding the impact of emotional and psychological abuse on children;•
analysing the descriptions of child abuse and childhood by the media;•
investigating the impact of mandatory reporting on professional decisions to report child abuse; •
contributing to an understanding of the connections between different forms of family violence; and,•
examining community attitudes towards the prevention of child abuse and family violence.•
The partnership has also been extremely successful in gaining positive media coverage for its research findings
about critical child welfare issues.
Enquiries about the work of the Research Centre can be made through the following contact.
Professor Chris Goddard
Director
Child Abuse Research Australia
Monash University
Building 1, 270 Ferntree Gully Road
Notting Hill VIC 3168
Email: Chris.Goddard@med.monash.edu.au
T (03) 8575 2235
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 6
Acknowledgements
This report is part of the 2007 Become a Childhood Hero Program developed and run by the Australian
Childhood Foundation. Childhood Hero encourages all Australians to support the work of the Australian
Childhood Foundation in its efforts to prevent child abuse and reduce the harm it causes to children, families and
the community.
Childhood Heroes are ordinary Australians who want to make a difference in the lives of children who have been
traumatised by abuse and violence. They want to act together to help prevent child abuse.
Childhood heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things for children. They help to celebrate the fun,
innocence and importance of childhood.
The centerpiece of the 2007 program is a powerful advertising campaign which has been generously donated by
Clemenger BBDO. It delivers an evocative message about how critical all adults are in playing a role to protect
children.
We would like to thank our long standing patrons and welcome the support of our most recent Childhood Hero
Ambassadors - Stefan Dennis, (Network Ten Neighbours Star) and Kate Ritchie (Seven Network Home and Away
Star).
The 2007 Childhood Hero Program has been supported by the significant contributions of Clemenger BBDO,
Sofitel Melbourne, Fujililms, InStyle Magazine, Mitchell and Partners, Style Counsel, Velvet Monkeys, Rothfield Print
Management, LOTE Marketing and many other Australian businesses, schools and individuals.
Horizon Communications Group deserves a special note of acknowledgement for embracing Childhood Hero
and for their ongoing support of the Australian Childhood Foundation over many years.
A special note of thanks to Simon McCall, Carolyn
Tarry and the team at Quantum Market Research
for their support in conducting the survey and
providing a preliminary analysis of the data upon
which the report is based.
Finally, we would like to thank the children who took part in the study for their clarity and willingness to share their
experiences and views. We would like to express our appreciation for the models who appear in the photo on this
publication.
!
!
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 7
Executive summary
Whilst an emerging trend internationally, little research has been undertaken in Australia that seeks the views of
children about childhood, family life and the world in which they live. Children’s views are often excluded from
research due to the belief that they are unable to provide reliable accounts of their life. Many studies have shown,
however, that children are both competent and coherent commentators on their own lives and the contexts within
which they live.
For this reason, the Australian Childhood Foundation, in conjunction with Child Abuse Prevention Research
Australia at Monash University, commissioned Quantum Market Research to undertake a comprehensive national
survey of children. A national representative sample of 600 children and young people aged between 10-14
years across Australia completed an online survey in April 2007.
The following key themes emerged from the study’s findings.
Children’s sense of their place in the world is under threat. Children are particularly concerned about
the environment. Over a half of the children surveyed are worried about not having enough water. Just over four
in ten (44%) are nervous about the future impact of climate change and 43% of children are worried about air
and water pollution.
A substantial proportion are also concerned about the escalating tension in world affairs. Almost a third of
children (31%) are worried that they will have to fight in a war when they get much older. More than a third (36%)
are apprehensive about terrorism.
A quarter of children are so troubled about the state of the world that they honestly believe it will come to an end
before they get older.
Children’s sense of their community is under threat. Half of the children (51%) did not feel welcome in
shops and cafes. Over a third (36%) believed that adults do not care about what children think. A substantial
proportion of them were really worried about being teased (57%), not fitting in with friends (54%) and being
bullied (52%). 1 in 10 of the children surveyed were particularly anxious about being called names because of
their culture or nationality. 1 in 13 were worried about being called names because of their religion. More than a
quarter (27%) of children feared being a victim of crime.
Increasingly, children are disturbed by the relentless pressure of marketing aimed at them. A large majority (88%)
believed that companies tried to sell them things that they do not really need.
Children’s sense of themselves is under threat. Overwhelmingly, a substantial proportion of children
feel insecure. Nearly half (46%) of the children surveyed do not feel confident about themselves. More than a
half (57%) worried about what others thought about them. 4 in 10 stated that they do not ever feel like they are
doing well enough. Almost 1 in 5 (19%) believe they are growing up too fast. A large number (41%) of children
are specifically worried about the way they look with 35% concerned about being overweight and 16% being too
skinny.
By using a cluster analysis, these overall findings suggested that the population of children who completed the
survey could be categorised into children who felt well connected and supported (52%), the “worried” group
(42%) or the “disconnected and insular” (8%) group. This last group, in particular, show signs of enormous
vulnerability and are most likely to be set on an early trajectory of hopelessness and despair.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 8
Children rely on their family to help them understand their experiences and feel better about
themselves and their life. Clearly, parents are children’s real life every day heroes. A substantial proportion
(93%) of children feel close to the people who love them. The majority of children (90%) like spending times
with their parents and believe that their parents like spending time with them (90%). 85% of children surveyed
believed their parents are interested in the activities they undertake. Children tend to turn to mothers (39%) in
particular if they needed help. In the event that they are unable to feel resourced by their family, they seek support
from teachers (12%) and grandparents (8%). Parents are children’s every day heroes because they love, care
and support them. In essence, positive relationships with family offer children an important buffer to their fears
and concerns. They enable children to interpret meaning from difficult experiences and they promote optimism,
happiness and strength in children.
The authors conclude that children themselves believe that adults show little concern or respect for their views and
opinions. This study is unequivocal in the strength of its conclusion. Children should be consulted about what the
world should be like. And adults should listen.
The report finally notes that all children, and in particular those who are disconnected and insular, would be
better supported if the Australian Government re-established the role of Minister for Children and created a
National Children’s Commissioner. Together, these national structures should carry responsibility for developing
nationally co-ordinated and properly resourced responses to vulnerable children and young people.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 9
Table of contents
About the authors 3
Australian Childhood Foundation 4
Child Abuse Prevention Research Australia, Monash University 5
Acknowledgements 6
Executive summary 7
Table of contents 9
Introduction 10
Data analysis 12
Critical findings 13
Analysis 25
References 31
Appendix A. 33
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 10
Introduction
The shape and context of childhood in Australia has changed significantly in recent decades. Contested
understandings about what constitutes childhood have been the province of parents, professionals and policy
makers (James, Jenks and Prout,1998; Ochiltree, 1991; Postman, 1994; Mitchell, 2004). Whilst an emerging
trend internationally, little research has been undertaken in Australia that seeks the views of children about
childhood, family life and the world in which they live. Children’s views are often excluded from research due to
the belief that they are unable to provide reliable accounts of their life. Many studies have shown, however, that
children are both competent and coherent commentators on their own lives and the contexts within which they live
(Morrow, 2000; Mudaly and Goddard, 2006; Pike, Coldwell and Dunn, 2006).
Children, young people and their families navigate their day to day life in a world that is seen by many adults
to be rapidly changing and increasingly hostile (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard 2004, 2005). Do children perceive
their world in the same way? What is life like for children and young people? What do they value? What are their
hopes and dreams? What support do they need and to whom do they turn?
This research is the second in a series of studies that seek the views of children and young people about their
experiences of childhood in Australia today. The first study by the authors revealed a picture of childhood
that is little understood by adults (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2006). The results appeared to challenge our
idealised perception of modern childhood. Children and young people described their lives as stressful and
held concern for their immediate and long term safety and well-being. Despite modern life offering innovation
and opportunities, children were generally uncertain that they will be any better off than previous generations.
Children and young people lacked confidence in themselves and felt that they were not doing well enough. They
described experiencing emotional turmoil with a concerningly high number of children and young people feeling
worried, sad and angry on a regular basis.
The first study also confirmed that children and young people want and need connection to parents and other
adults. The findings clearly indicated that children need adults to help them interpret their world. They need adults
to help them understand and navigate the complexities, pressures and pace of modern life. Much that children
worried about was beyond their full comprehension and ability to change.
The current study seeks to further explore these themes with children and young people directly. Importantly, it
sets out to add children’s voices to adult understandings about the experiences, needs and desires of children and
young people in Australia today.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 11
Methodology
Aims of research
The key objectives of this research were to
understand the experience of growing up in Australia from the perspective of children and young people;•
explore the views of children and young people in relation to what they need from families and the •
community to assist them in their growth and development;
explore the primary sources of support relied on by children and young people today; and,•
develop a basis for informing the evolution of public policy which seeks to further include the voices of •
children and young people.
Survey method
The study is based on an online survey conducted by Quantum Market Research with a nationally representative
sample of 600 children and young people aged between 10-14 years across Australia in April 2007.
Survey sample
Total Sample N=600
Gender %
Male 52
Female 48
Age
10 years old 22
11 years old 15
12 years old 15
13 years old 17
14 years old 31
Location
New South Wales 33
Victoria 25
Queensland 19
Western Australia 10
South Australia 8
Tasmania 2
Australian Capital Territory 2
Northern Territory 1
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 12
Data analysis
The data collected in the survey was subjected to cluster analysis, an exploratory technique used to group together
respondents who are similar in some way. The initial cluster analysis was based on the similarity of attitudinal
responses given by the children about a series of key questions.
From this analysis, three clusters of children have been identified:
Well-connected and supported (52% of children)•
Worried (40% of children)•
Disconnected and insular (8% of children)•
52%
Disconnected and insular
8%
40%
Worried
Well connected and
supported
Diagram 1: Three clusters of children identified based on their responses
Children in the well-connected and supported group tend to feel comfortable with themselves, have trust in
adults, and like to spend time with their parents. They feel safe and secure, and connected to friends and family
and represent 52% of children. These children are no different from the general population in terms of age and
gender.
The worried group accounts for 40% of children and they tend to be self-conscious and stressed. They worry
about how others perceive them, both physically and socially, and tend to be concerned about the state of the
world and their future. These children are no different from the general population in terms of age and gender.
The disconnected and insular group accounts for 8% of children. They are likely to be least attached to family
and friends and least trusting of adults. They feel that adults do not understand them, respect them or look out
for them and feel there are few people they can rely on. These children tend to be older and are more likely to be
boys.
Where appropriate, the results are described according to this segmentation. In addition, the findings have been
analysed according to gender and age of respondents and only reported where there was a major difference
between groups.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 13
Critical ndings
The following tables summarise the key findings of the survey results. They are presented as a series of
interconnecting themes emerging from the data. For the purposes of this report, the term ‘children’ is used to
describe both children and young people.
The world of the future concerns children today
Key findings (N=600)
52% of children are worried about not having enough water in the future
44% of children are worried about the future impact of climate change
43% of children worried about pollution in the air and water
More than a third (36%) of children are worried about terrorism
Almost one third of children (31%) are worried they will have to fight in a war one day
Over a quarter of children (27%) fear being a victim of crime one day
One quarter (25%) of children worry that the world will end before they get older
It is often said that children and young people live in the here and now with little regard for the future. These
findings clearly challenge this popular notion. With media and community attention profiling and debating a
range of environmental issues, children are engaging with broader community problems and the implications for
the future into which they are growing.
Echoing the previous study, terrorism was again in the minds of children surveyed (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard,
2006). In both studies more than one in three children cited this issue as a concern to them. Children in the
current study go further, indicating that similar numbers of children are worried that they may have to fight in a
war one day.
Also consistent with the previous findings was the concern of 27% of children that the world may end before they
grow old (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2006).
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 14
Self-confidence and self-identity are of significant concern for children
Key findings (N=600)
Nearly half (46%) of the children do not feel confident in themselves
57% of children worry about what other people think of them
41% of children do not ever feel like they are doing well enough
47% of children worry about the way they look
35% of children worry about being overweight
16% of children worry about being too skinny
1 in 10 children worry about being called names because of culture or nationality
8% of children worry about being called names because of their religion
Issues of acceptance, self-identity and tolerance of difference are of critical concern to children and underpin their
sense of who they are and what they are capable of achieving in their lives.
As in the 2006 study, self-confidence was again lacking in many of the children surveyed (Tucci, Mitchell and
Goddard, 2006). Forty-three percent (43%) of children surveyed in the 2006 study indicated they would like to
feel more confident compared with 46% in the current study. However, a comparison of findings related to the
sense that children do not ever feel that they are doing well enough shows significant variation between the two
studies. The current study found 41% of children do not ever feel like they are doing well enough compared to
less than a quarter in the previous study.
Weight and appearance were of concern to both girls and boys. Whilst more girls (44%) than boys (27%) were
worried about being overweight, being underweight was of equal concern to both boys and girls.
A concerning number of children fear vilification based on their race or religion. This in many ways is not
surprising as world tensions spill over into the every day experiences of children at school and in their
communities. Such concerns will undoubtedly form the basis for bullying, separating these children from peer
groups and the opportunity to build a permanent sense of belonging, both important factors influencing their
well-being.
These findings do, however, highlight the importance of parents and adults in setting examples for acceptance,
tolerance, the promotion of self esteem and a positive sense of identity in children and young people.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 15
Children do not feel listened to, respected or welcome within the general community
Key findings (N=600)
36% of children believe that adults don’t care about what young people think
41% of children believe that adults don’t show respect for young people
51% of children feel children their age are not welcome in shops and cafes
Whilst children believe their parents are interested in them, these findings show that children also believe that care
and concern for them is limited within the community. Alarmingly, more than half the children believed that they
were unwelcome in some public places. This perception reinforces the notion that children must resort to adults
within their immediate environment for help, rather than feeling confident that help and support is more broadly
available to them within the community in which they live.
…..unless they are seen as consumers……Children feel the pressure of marketing aimed at them
Key findings (N=600)
88% of children feel companies try to sell them things they don’t need
85% of children feel there is a lot of pressure to buy things like games music and clothes
74% of children believe there should be less advertising aimed at children
Children and parents share the view that children are targeted too much by companies trying to market their
products to them (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2006). Clearly an identified consumer group in their own right,
children are feeling bombarded by pressure through the advertising directed towards them.
The child-oriented market has laid its roots in every aspect of children’s lives affecting how they learn, what
they eat and how they play (Williams, 2005). Advertisements and marketing messages shape the way children
see themselves and the world, whilst impacting on their values, aspirations, health and how they feel about
themselves. The average child in the UK, US and Australia sees between 20,000 and 40,000 television
advertisements per year. They are bombarded with images about how they should look and what they should
own. Children struggle to keep up, suffering from anxiety, stress and lower satisfaction in themselves (Williams,
2006).
In the United Kingdom, the National Consumer Council research concluded that “…children do experience stress
from the scale and extent of commercial marketing. Young people feel pressure to have the latest “in vogue”
items. Girls, in particular, experience feelings of inadequacy and discomfort as a result of ‘images of perfection’
promoted by advertising…” (Mayo, 2005).
These findings clearly show that children believe they would greatly benefit from less aggressive marketing and
advertising practices.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 16
Peers are both a source of friendship and fear for children
Confirming the centrality of peer groups for children, the following findings describe aspects of friendships and
peers that are of concern to children.
Key findings (N=600)
Children are concerned
about:
Overall
%
Well-
connected
and
supported
%
Worried
%
Disconnected
and insular
%
Being teased 57 51 66 50
Not fitting in with friends 54 49 58 65
Being bullied 52 46 61 45
Making friends 40 33 46 47
Well-connected and supported children are less concerned about these issues than children in worried or
disconnected and insular groups. Children in the worried group are significantly more likely to be concerned
about being bullied and teased than other children, whilst disconnected and insular children are more likely to be
concerned about not fitting in and making friends.
In his study on children’s perspectives on believing and belonging, Smith (2005) interviewed a sample of 9-11
year old children and found that the concept of friendship varies for different children. For some, friendships are
an intense personal and emotionally bonded relationship where friends ‘back you up’ and ‘make you feel happy’.
For others, a friend is simply someone who is available to you when you want to do something that requires more
than one person. Children also talked about those to avoid when considering friendships including ‘people you
can’t trust’ and bullies.
Regardless of the intensity or focus of the friendship, this study further highlights the critical importance of positive
peer relationships for children and the ongoing fears and concerns that children experience as they attempt to
negotiate their place within a friendship group. The differences between the three cluster groups in this study
further indicates the need for children to have the support of trusted adults in their lives to assist them in what is
often, for many children, a challenging task.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 17
Positive relationships are the key to happiness in children
Key findings (N=600)
Overall, 90% of children describe themselves as happy
Children who feel their parents are very interested in them are significantly more likely to say they are
happy (45%) than children who feel their parents are less interested in them (24%)
Well-connected and supported children represent the highest proportion of very happy children (39%)
Disconnected and insular children represent the highest proportion of unhappy children (18%)
30% of children said time with family and relatives make them happy
59% of children described being with friends as making them happy
Feeling positively connected to family and friends is a key determinant of happiness and well-being for children.
These findings confirm the results of the first study (Tucci et al, 2006) and research recently undertaken by
the New South Wales Commission for Children and Young People (2007). This study sought feedback from
children aged between 8-15 years of age about their understandings of their own well-being. The study showed
that central to children’s understanding of well-being was both their emotional life and their relationships and
connections with others.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 18
Children like spending time with their parents and feel it is reciprocated but want more
Key finding (N=600)
93% of children feel close to the people who love them
90% of children like spending time with their parents
90% of children believe their parents like spending time with them
37% of children would like to spend more time with their parents
22% of children in the disconnected and insular group are less likely than well-connected and
supported (35%) or worried children (42%) to want to spend more time with their parents
This theme confirms that of the previous study (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2006) that found between 20% and
40% of children wanted more time with their parents. The desire to spend time with parents predictably declines
with the increasing age of the child but none-the-less remains important to children of all ages.
In her research with 10-11 year old children, Christensen (2002) found that children’s notions of time are situated
in the processes through which everyday family life, school and work take place. This study did not explore the
concept of time with children, however, future research would benefit from such an exploration.
Parents also recognise the desire to and the challenge of spending more time with their children. In surveying
parents about their concerns in an earlier study, the authors found that 75% of parents believed that balancing
the needs of work and family was a serious issue for them. Nearly three-quarters of parents struggled to find the
time to enjoy activities together with their children (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2004).
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 19
Children seek appropriate levels of responsibility and discipline from adults
Key findings (N=600)
Almost 1 in 5 (19%) children believe they are growing up too fast
Worried (25%) and disconnected (29%) children are more likely to think they are growing up too fast
than well-connected children (14%)
13% of children think they carry too much responsibility
Disconnected and insular children (29%) are much more likely than worried children (15%) and well-
connected and supported children ( 9%) to think they carry too much responsibility
22% of children think they are given too little responsibility
40% of children believe children need more discipline
Disconnected and insular children (46%) are much more likely than worried children (18%) or well-
connected and supported children (16%) to think children need less discipline
This study contrasts with previous research by the authors (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2006) in which 76% of a
sample of 986 children and young people aged between 10 -17 years believed ‘kids are growing up faster than
they used to’ and comparable research undertaken in the United Kingdom that found that 60% of a sample of
2000 7-17 years olds held the same view (Madge, 2006). This variation may be due to a sampling difference.
The current research excludes children aged 15-17 years. Further research is required to understand the impact
of the sampling variation and examine potential differentiations in the perception ‘kids are growing up too fast’
between older adolescents and younger children before any conclusions can be drawn.
Clearly, children who feel disconnected and unsupported by adults feel they carry the burden of responsibility
compared to well-connected or worried children who feel adults in their lives share responsibility for them.
This finding highlights the critical role of adults in helping children feel supported and guided. In contrast to
commonly held beliefs that children dislike discipline and want everything ‘their own way’, this research shows
that children want appropriate levels of responsibility for themselves within the limits set by parents and other
adults in their lives.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 20
Parents are interested in their children but need to listen more
Key findings (N=600)
85% of children believe their parents are interested in the things they do
Well-connected and supported children are much more likely (51%) than worried children (39%) or
disconnected and insular children (29%) to feel their parents are very interested in the things they do
Disconnected and insular children are much more likely to feel their parents are either ambivalent
in their interest or not interested in them (38%) than well-connected and supported children (6%) or
worried children (13%)
46% of children would like their parents to listen to them more
Almost 1 in 10 (9%) children feel their parents rarely listen to them
Children who want more parental involvement are much less likely to feel listened to
Well-connected and supported children are the most likely to feel that their parents listen to them most
of the time (61%)
Disconnected and insular children are much more likely to feel that their parents do not listen to them
very often (23%) or at best sometimes (50%)
Children want and appreciate the interest taken by parents in their lives but are wanting them to listen to them
more. The inclusion of children’s views in the day-to-day realities of family and broader school and community
life communicates respect for children’s points of view, an acknowledgement that children can make a meaningful
contribution to the lives of family and community and promotes children’s confidence and sense of agency in their
own lives.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 21
Children look within their immediate environment for help
Key finding (N=600)
39% of children would turn to their mother if they needed help
39% of children would turn to either parent if they needed help
6% of children would turn to their father if they needed help
18% of children would turn to friends if they needed help
12% of children would turn to a teacher if they needed help
8% of children would turn to grandparent(s) if they needed help
These findings suggest that children will look within their immediate environment for help when needed. Whilst
predominately seeking support from parents, children are also seeking support from friends, teachers and
grandparents.
Of significance in these findings is the specific reliance on mothers over fathers as a source of help for children.
The reasons for this disparity were not explored in this study but reflect similar research undertaken in the United
Kingdom (Pike et al, 2006).
These results also suggest the vulnerability of children in the absence of trusted and supportive family that they
can turn to in times of crisis.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 22
Parents rank first as the biggest influencers of children’s views
1st Mention 2nd Mention 3rd Mention Total Mentions
Parents 81 12 4 97
Friends 12 22 25 59
Brothers and sisters 3 22 15 40
Grandparents 1 22 14 36
Teachers 1 13 19 33
Television 1 6 12 19
Sports coach/group
leader 1 1 2 4
Internet - 1 3 4
Someone else 1 - 2 3
School counsellors - 1 1 2
Magazines - 1 2 2
What people say on radio - - 1 1
Newspapers - - - -
Books - - - -
The vast majority of children (81%) rank parents first as the biggest influencers of their views whilst 97% children
rank parents in their top three influencers and confirm the earlier research (Tucci et al, 2006). These findings also
highlights the role of siblings, grandparents and teachers in the lives of children.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 23
Mums and Dads are heroes in the lives of children
Key findings (N=600)
28% of children identify their mothers as their real life hero that supports and inspires them
14% of children identify their fathers as their real life hero that supports and inspires them
14% of children identify their parents as their real life hero that supports and inspires them
12% of children identify a family member other than a biological parent as their real life hero that
supports and inspires them (including grandparent, relative, sibling, step-dad)
4% of children identify their friend as their real life hero that supports and inspires them
2% of children identify their teacher as their real life hero that supports and inspires them
For children, parents are their biggest influence and the people to whom they turn for help – they are also their
real life heroes. Mum is most nominated as a hero, followed by Dad and then parents as a team. Again, there is
gender bias present with girls favouring their mother (35% vs 20%), and boys favouring their father (22% vs 6%).
Younger children are also more likely to nominate their Dad than teenagers (18% vs 11%). Interestingly, children
who would like their parents to spend more time with them are more likely to nominate a grandparent as their
real life hero.
When asked why a person is a hero to a child, the children indicated that Mums and Dads are heroes for a range
of reasons that are focussed around the love, care, support and help they provide children.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 24
Children’s dreams for their future include happiness, their own home and a good job
What I wish for when I am older %
Overall
%
Well-
connected
%
Worried
%
Dis-connected
Being happy 84 90 82 57
Having a good job 76 77 78 58
Owning your own home 69 70 71 56
Being satisfied with your life 61 64 62 37
Travelling 60 64 57 37
Having good school marks/results 56 61 55 25
Having a million dollars 56 54 59 50
Having a good marriage 48 51 46 38
Having a mobile phone 47 48 50 27
Doing something that helps others 46 49 47 28
Owning an expensive car 46 47 46 44
Having children of my own 46 48 45 34
Owning a laptop computer 44 44 46 35
Being good at sport 43 45 43 32
Having a university degree 38 43 37 18
Being famous 30 29 30 36
Wearing clothes by a famous designer 25 25 26 17
Having a Gold credit card 19 19 19 21
Being a manager or executive at work 19 19 20 11
Owning expensive jewellery 17 18 16 16
None of these 1 0 1 1
Material goods are not as important to children as happiness, a home and a good job.
Well-connected and supported children are more likely than others to wish for happiness in the future.
Disconnected and insular children are less likely to have wishes for the future across a range of issues, including
travel, life satisfaction, happiness, getting good marks in school, having a mobile phone, getting a university
degree, helping others, and owning their own home. However, they are just as likely as other children to wish
for material things like expensive cars, clothes and jewellery, or having power in the form of fame or being a
manager at work.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 25
Analysis
There is a crisis of confidence in many children
Issues of self-confidence and acceptance are of critical concern to children and underpin their sense of who they
are, their future and what they are capable of achieving in their lives.
Concerns regarding low levels of self-confidence experienced by children in earlier research were confirmed in
the current research (Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2006). Self-confidence was significantly lacking in nearly half
of the children surveyed. Other researchers have found self-confidence and a positive self esteem to be central
to overall well-being. Children’s conceptualisation of well-being has been shown to include having a sense of
agency or power in ones own life, having a sense of security to be able to fully engage with life and a positive
sense of self-esteem, confidence or feeling good about yourself (NSW Commissioner for Children and Young
People, 2007; Armstrong, Hill and Secker, 2000).
Linked to the notion of self-confidence are the concepts of optimism, pessimism and hope. In their review of
studies about optimism and pessimism, Ey et al (2005) defined these terms as positive and negative expectations
linked to well-being, suggesting that optimism may serve as an important source of resilience for children.
Optimism, the authors further argue, is an important protective factor in children’s ability to face life’s challenges,
whereas pessimism is associated over time with low self-esteem (Ey et al, 2005). Children hopeful about their
ability to overcome challenges report higher self-worthiness and competence (Snyder et al 1997). Whilst others
have argued that children’s general expectations about the future are predictive of the type of efficacy of coping
used in the face of current stressors (Shier and Carver, 1985).
The role of marketing and advertising is clearly a contributing factor in the pressure children experience to
conform to an ideal image or set of expectations thus also impacting on children’s self-confidence and self-
identity (Williams, 2006; Mayo, 2005).
But it is the changing world and the need to interpret the fear of threats that seems to be at the heart of the crisis
of confidence in children and young people. It is this context that children are re-affirming the role of parents to
help guide them and make sense of the reality of change for them.
That such consistently significant numbers of children in the current and previous study have shown low levels of
self-confidence signals the need for parents, teachers, professionals and policy makers to agenda this issue as a
priority for children (Tucci, Goddard and Mitchell, 2006).
Children defined in this study as disconnected and insular are clearly less confident about themselves and less
hopeful than their peers about their future and thus should be a focus of particular concern to parents and the
community in general.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 26
Children’s sense of happiness and well-being is strongly correlated with connection to others
The results of this study and others clearly show that children need and want adults in their lives to act as a
support and create a sense of belonging (Catalano, 1997; Office for Youth, 2000; Madge, 2006; Tucci, Mitchell
and Goddard, 2006). Indeed, a sense of connectedness and belonging to family, friends, school and the
community are widely held by researchers to be important for the emotional health and well-being of young
people (Hawkins, Catalano and Miller, 1992; Resnick et al, 1997).
Relationships and connections with others are central to how children understand well-being (NSW Commissioner
for Children and Young People, 2007; Armstrong et al, 2000). Friends and family are seen by children as
assisting them to feel secure, supported and wanted thus preventing feelings of isolation (Armstrong et al 2000).
More socially competent children and those who display fewer signs of problem behaviour enjoy warmer and less
hostile relationships with their parents, suggesting clear links between children’s adjustment and relationships with
parents and siblings (Pike et al, 2006).
Armstrong et al (2000) found the things identified by children as contributing to a reduced sense of well-being
included parental problems, peer rejection and bullying and bereavement.
The findings of this study suggest a gender bias in regard to the perceived role of mothers and fathers that is also
supported by other similar studies. In looking at specific aspects of parent-child relationships, one study found
fathers to be more likely than mothers to report using negative discipline strategies and were less affectionate
than mothers towards children (Pike et al, 2006).
Further supporting the findings of this study, several other studies of children’s views have found that mothers
before fathers are reported to be the most important people in children’s lives (Brannen, Heptinstall and Bhopal,
2000; Scout Association, 2007). In their study, the Scout Association in the United Kingdom found that one in five
children aged between 11 – 18 years spontaneously chose their mother as the adult they admire most in Britain
whilst one in ten said there father was the most admired.
Finally, children’s sense of connection with parents and others also has the element of time attached to it.
The findings of this study are consistent with the views of children in earlier studies that argue for the need for
more time with their parents (Lewis, Hand and Tudball, 2001; Tucci, Mitchell and Goddard, 2006). Some
researchers have argued that the notions of quality versus quantity time between parents and children are adult
constructs and have little relevance to children (Lewis, Hand and Tudball, 2001; Christensen, 2002). Lewis
et al (2001) found it was not only about the amount of time parents spent with them, but significantly for primary
school aged children, they wanted parents to be involved in aspects of their lives such as attending school events
and picking them up from school.
Christensen (2002) suggests the need for the debate to move from quality versus quantity time arguing that
children’s views of time spent with families cannot be seen as separate from time they spend with friends, at
school or on their own. She argues that the problems of contemporary family life and its effects on children are
not remedied through any simple notion of spending more ‘quality time’ with children and we must thus look
more closely at the meanings of family time for parents and children.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 27
Children in Christensen’s study (2002) identified five qualities of time at home with the family that they valued
including:
value of family time as ordinariness and routine •
value of family time as someone being there for you •
value of having a say over one’s time•
value of time for having peace and quiet•
value of being able to plan ones own time.•
The conceptualisation of time as an element of connection is clearly an area that will benefit from further research
and is of direct relevance to policy makers addressing issues such as work and family balance.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 28
Children want to be included in decisions that affect them but rely on adults to make decisions
Children want to be children. They want an appropriate amount of responsibility afforded them and
discipline to guide them. They do not however wish for their views to be overlooked by virtue of their status as
children. Children want to feel respected by their parents and to have the ability to participate in decisions that
affect them and their lives. Children want to be listened to, want adults to pay more attention and give increased
credence to what they have to say, how they feel and think. Being valued and respected by others is important to
children. Obtaining positive recognition and feeling a sense of belonging are crucial elements to positive self-
esteem. Small, everyday acts of recognition often stand out for children (NSW Commissioner for Children and
Young People, 2007; Scout Association, 2007).
This study reflects the similar findings in other research that children respect the authority of parents as it derives
from their competence and life experience rather than their status as parents (Butler, Robinson and Scanlon,
2005). Commonly, children consider parents to be better decision makers than children but want to be consulted
about things that affect them (Morrow, 2000; NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People, 2007).
The general community shows little concern for and interest in children
Children feel held in little regard by the community at large. Significant numbers of children feel they are not
respected by adults generally, that adults do not care about what they think. More than half the children feel they
are not welcome in public places such as shops and cafes. This study has shown that in the main, children feel
valued and supported by those in their immediate environment but beyond the front gate it is a different story.
What then for those children who are unable to receive the support and care they need from parents? Many turn
to friends, but by definition these are children too and often not equipped to provide the level or nature of support
that children often need. Children need adults in their life to turn to in times of trouble or distress. In the absence
of a supportive family, children need to know that there are others in the community who will care, who will
respect them, who will listen, who will help them.
The need for the community to become more supportive and inclusive of children has been long argued and this
clearly remains the case (Kitzinger, 1994; NSW Child Protection Council, 1998; Patton, 1999; Tucci, Mitchell and
Goddard, 2006).
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 29
Conclusion
Children’s sense of their place in the world is under threat. They are particularly concerned about the
environment. Over a half of the children surveyed are worried about not having enough water. Just over four in
ten (44%) are worried about the future impact of climate change and 43% of children are worried about air and
water pollution.
A substantial proportion are also concerned about the escalating tension in world affairs. Almost a third of
children (31%) are worried that they will have to fight in a war when they get older. More than a third (36%) are
worried about terrorism.
A quarter of children are so troubled about the state of the world that they honestly believe it will come to an end
before they get older.
Children’s sense of their community is under threat. Half of the children (51%) did not feel welcome in
shops and cafes. Over a third (36%) believed that adults do not care about what children think. A substantial
proportion of them were really worried about being teased (57%), not fitting in with friends (54%) and being
bullied (52%).
1 in 10 of the children surveyed were particularly anxious about being called names because of their culture or
nationality. 1 in 13 were worried about being called names because of their religion. More than a quarter (27%)
of children feared being a victim of crime.
Increasingly, children are disturbed by the relentless pressure of marketing aimed at them. A large majority (88%)
believed that companies tried to sell them things that they do not really need.
Children’s sense of themselves is under threat. Overwhelmingly, a substantial proportion of children
feel insecure. Nearly half (46%) of the children surveyed do not feel confident about themselves. More than a
half (57%) worried about what others thought about them. 4 in 10 stated that they do not ever feel like they are
doing well enough. Almost 1 in 5 (19%) believe they are growing up too fast. A large number (41%) of children
are specifically worried about the way they look with 35% concerned about being overweight and 16% being too
skinny.
By using a cluster analysis, these overall findings suggested that the population of children who completed the
survey could be categorised into children who felt well connected and supported (52%), the “worried” group
(42%) or the “disconnected and insular” (8%) group. This last group, in particular, show signs of enormous
vulnerability and are most likely to be set on an early trajectory of hopelessness and despair.
Children rely on their family to help them understand their experiences and feel better about
themselves and their life. Clearly, parents are children’s real life every day heroes. A substantial proportion
(93%) of children feel close to the people who love them. The majority of children (90%) like spending times
with their parents and believe that their parents like spending time with them (90%). 85% of children surveyed
believed their parents are interested in the activities they undertake. Children tend to turn to mothers (39%) in
particular if they needed help. In the event that they are unable to feel resourced by their family, they seek support
from teachers (12%) and grandparents (8%). Parents are children’s every day heroes because they love, care
and support them. In essence, positive relationships with family offer children an important buffer to their fears
and concerns. They enable children to interpret meaning from difficult experiences and they promote optimism,
happiness and strength in children.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 30
Some children need adults to reach out to them and help them belong. Every thirteenth child who
completed the survey was part of the disconnected and insular group. They are in real trouble. They represent the
highest proportion of unhappy children. They are the least likely to have wishes for the future across a range of
issues, including travel, life satisfaction, happiness, getting good marks in school, obtaining a university degree,
helping others, and owning their own home. They are less likely to want to spend time with their parents. They
are most concerned about not fitting in with friends. They do not feel understood, respected and find it difficult
to know who to rely on. These children need adults to reach out to them to help them feel that do belong to a
community that cares about them and will support them. These are the children who are most likely to suffer from
enduring emotional, social and psychological difficulties as they grow older. Of all the children who undertook the
survey, these children need our immediate attention, compassion and commitment.
This reason alone should be enough to stir national action about children. Clearly, this “disconnected and
insular” group of children in particular, and all children in general, would be better supported if the Australian
Government re-established the role of Minister for Children and created a National Children’s Commissioner.
Together, these national structures should carry responsibility for developing nationally co-ordinated and properly
resourced responses to vulnerable children and young people.
The views of children are important to seek out and listen to. Unquestioningly, children are the heirs to
the environment and the quality of community that we, as adults, create. Yet, they have no capacity to shape or
influence public discourse about the legacy with which they will have to contend. It is already our children’s world.
This study is unequivocal in the strength of its conclusion. Children should be consulted about what the world
should be like. And adults should listen.
Children’s fears, hopes and heroes 31
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... Empirical work largely examined adolescents rather than younger children ( Table 2). Three of the 33 articles were grey literature reports (Clayton et al., 2017;Tucci, Mitchell, & Goddard, 2007;UNICEF, 2013). Tucci et al. (2007) presented empirical findings from a study with Australian children, while reports from UNICEF (2013) and the American Psychological Association (Clayton et al., 2017) were broader reports about the impacts of climate change on children and mental health, respectively. ...
... Three of the 33 articles were grey literature reports (Clayton et al., 2017;Tucci, Mitchell, & Goddard, 2007;UNICEF, 2013). Tucci et al. (2007) presented empirical findings from a study with Australian children, while reports from UNICEF (2013) and the American Psychological Association (Clayton et al., 2017) were broader reports about the impacts of climate change on children and mental health, respectively. ...
... • anxiety (Baker et al., 2020;Bangsund, 2018;Burke et al., 2018;Chalupka et al., 2020;Clayton, 2020;Clemens et al., 2020;Cunsolo et al., 2020;Fritze et al., 2008;Gifford & Gifford, 2016;Kowalczewski & Klein, 2018;Kuang & Root, 2019;MacKay et al., 2020;Palinkas & Wong, 2020;Pinsky et al., 2020;Sanson et al., 2018Sanson et al., , 2019Stanley & Farrant, 2015;The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 2021;Wu et al., 2020) and • worry Clayton, 2020;Gifford & Gifford, 2016;Kowalczewski & Klein, 2018;Kuang & Root, 2019;MacKay et al., 2020;McMichael, 2014;Ojala, 2012aOjala, , 2012bOjala, , 2013Ojala, , 2015Ojala & Bengtsson, 2019;Sanson et al., 2018Sanson et al., , 2019Strohmeier et al., 2017;Tucci et al., 2007;UNICEF, 2013). ...
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Background: Climate change is a threat to children's physical health, but there are also implications for mental well-being. Additionally, children may experience negative emotional responses stemming from an overarching awareness of the imminent threats to the planet due to climate change. Method: Using a scoping review, we examined the impact of climate change awareness on children's mental well-being and negative emotions. Our aim was to identify and describe the existing literature and highlight priorities for future research. Three specific objectives guided the review: (1) to identify and provide an overview of research regarding the impact of climate change awareness on children's mental well-being and negative emotions; (2) to summarize and clarify the terminology related to climate change awareness and children's mental well-being and negative emotions; and (3) to make recommendations for areas of future research. Results: Thirty-three articles were included in a narrative synthesis. Many articles were reviews or editorials/commentaries. Of the empirical research, most were from Europe, North America, and Australia. The articles emphasized a large range of negative emotions that children felt about climate change, with anxiety and worry being the most researched and discussed. Conclusions: The research on the impact of awareness of climate change on children's mental well-being and negative emotions is in its early phases. Efforts are needed to advance conceptual clarity and operationalize concepts. Additionally, there is a need for research into the impact of climate change awareness on children's mental well-being and negative emotions among a greater diversity of people and places. Existing studies provide an encouraging basis from which to develop future research.
... Theorists have conceptualised the psychological impact of climate change into direct and indirect impacts (Doherty & Clayton, 2011). There is increasing evidence that awareness of climate change events and/or anticipating future risk from climate change can impact mental health and wellbeing indirectly (Clayton, 2020;Connell, Fien, Lee, Sykes, & Yencken, 1999;Hickman, 2020;Kelly, 2017;Lawrance et al., 2021;Lee, Gjersoe, O'Neill, & Barnett, 2020;Ogunbode et al., 2021;Strife, 2012;Tucci, Mitchell, & Goddard, 2007), with terms like 'eco-anxiety' being developed to describe adverse psychological responses (Albrecht, 2011). Eco distress is defined by the Royal College of Psychiatrists as 'the wide range of thoughts and emotions people may experience when they hear bad news about our planet and the environment', so it is not limited to pathological responses (Mellor, 2020). ...
... A number of studies have suggested that environmental issues can negatively impact child and adolescent wellbeing indirectly (Connell et al., 1999;Hokka et al., 1999;Kelly, 2017;Stokas, Strezou, Malandrakis, & Papadopoulou, 2017;Strife, 2012;Tucci et al., 2007). However, despite high levels of adolescent engagement with these issues, especially climate change, the literature does not yet conclusively tell us how widespread and severe emotional effects are, how they come about, or the contexts in which they occur, creating a need for fresh empirical data in different adolescent groups. ...
... This study corroborates previous findings from journalism (Bodkin, 2019;Taylor, 2019) and academic research from a range of countries (Connell et al., 1999;Hickman et al., 2021;Hokka et al., 1999;Kelly, 2017;Strife, 2012;Tucci et al., 2007) which have reported high levels of youth engagement with environmental issues, coupled with fear, anxiety, anger and sadness. As has been observed previously in children and young adults, participants had grim expectations for the future of the world (Strife, 2012;Tucci et al., 2007). ...
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Background: Despite a recent increase in engagement with environmental issues among young people, their impact upon adolescent mental health and wellbeing is not yet fully understood. Therefore, this study aimed to explore adolescents' thoughts and feelings about current environmental issues. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 15 UK-based adolescents aged 14-18 years (66.7% female). Transcripts were inductively thematically analysed by the interviewing researcher and two adolescent co-researchers, with priority given to the co-researchers' impressions to strengthen interpretations of the personal experiences of the interviewees. Results: Six themes were identified: the local environment, efficacy, challenging emotions, information, hindrances and perceptions of the future. The local environment was found to affect adolescents positively and negatively. Factors including greenspace and fresh air had a positive impact, and factors including noise and litter had a negative impact. Most participants reported feeling disempowered to personally influence environmental problems but were engaged with them and felt that trying to make a difference was beneficial for their wellbeing. Adolescents largely reported negative expectations about the environment's future. Conclusion: The UK adolescents interviewed appeared to be very engaged and emotionally affected by a perceived lack of care towards the environment, locally and globally. It is therefore imperative to amplify young people's voices and involve them in influencing environmental policy, for the benefit of young people and the planet. Further research should quantify the extent to which environmental issues affect young people's mental health and identify factors that could prevent or alleviate distress.
... These contradictions and challenges can be seen in the views of young people about climate change. While many of them have been keen to engage in promoting a positive future, there are at the same time feelings of helplessness or even hopelessness (Nordensvaard, 2014;Ojala, 2017;Tucci et al., 2007). Within the literature on hope, there is a range of viewpoints on the emphasis on psychological versus educational themes. ...
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Global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency campaigns and the Black Lives Matter movements have recently posed challenges for educationalists about their role, particularly in relation to promoting positive visions of the future. Development education and global learning has a major contribution to make within these agendas, particularly if it brings into its practices the ideas of Paulo Freire and his concept of the pedagogy of hope. Hope can often be considered an idealistic and utopian term, but if it is grounded in real life issues and challenges, then it can provide a valuable approach to learning about global issues. Recent examples in the UK and the initiative by UNESCO on Futures of Education demonstrate ways in which questions can be posed about the future of education that can be empowering to all learners.
... Some thinkers in childhood sociology tend to describe this age as an era that imposes new challenges and ambitions on the young and old in the growth, productivity, generation, dissemination, and availability of knowledge, which will be reflected in all aspects of life in contemporary society. A global situation like this opens up promising and unconventional horizons in changing our view of childhood and adopting effective methods of raising and advancing children in a way that reflects the spirit of this age (Tucci, Mitchell, & Goddard, 2007) On the other hand, thinkers in childhood education also tend to consider the contemporary society as a learning society that truly meets the child's need for learning and knowledge and satisfies his intellectual and emotional curiosity, and thus early childhood is greatly appreciated by scientific insights. The Universal Declaration of Universal Education released by the World Conference on Universal Education in Thailand in 1990 affirms the importance of school children so that they can grow to their full potential, work with dignity and participate fully in development, improve health quality, make informed decisions, and continue learning. ...
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This article aims to provide insights and directions on early childhood education and learning practices for sustainability in the Arab Republic of Egypt to achieve the vision of Egypt 2030; according to analytical visions for early childhood, the article dealt with the practices of preparing children to live and be happy with their childhood and realize their value for their future and the future of their nation. At the launch of the social pillar of Egyptian society 2030 in the society that enables teachers to develop skills, knowledge of all Egyptians and achieve the goal of primary education for all citizens; the state is committed to the Arab Republic of Egypt in 2014 education, the right to education for all. Moreover, according to the principles of our ancient Egyptian republic, among which are: Education in childhood should strive to provide a rich environment that facilitates children's empowerment of knowledge and provides them with the skills to access sources of this knowledge, communicate with others, think critically and make informed decisions. This article provided analytical knowledge of the nature of sustainability and sustainable development, principles of sustainable development, and education for sustainability in early childhood. The future is what we build today. And standards of education for sustainable development in early childhood. And the new education system for early childhood for sustainability in the Arab Republic of Egypt. ________________________________________________________________________________
... Understanding perceptions about climate change for children and youth is tied to their general awareness, beliefs, and concerns about climate change. For instance, a national survey from the Australian Childhood Foundation has considered indicators such as feeling troubled by the state of the world and thoughts around the seriousness of climate change and its impacts [30,31]. Other studies have acknowledged climate change effects in respect to a sense of climate related stress or worry, or a loss of security for the future [28]. ...
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Children and youth are showing increasing levels of mental health distress due to the climate crisis, characterized by feelings of sadness, guilt, changes in sleep and appetite, difficulty concentrating, solastalgia, and disconnection from land. To gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between climate change and children and youth’s mental health, we conducted a rapid review and a thematic analysis of the results in NVivo 12. Our findings show that children and youth experience a plethora of direct and indirect effects from climate change and this impacts their mental wellbeing in diverse and complex ways. Young people also have varied perceptions of climate change based on their social locations and many are dealing with feelings of immense worry and eco-anxiety. The mental health impacts of climate change on children/youth are tied to Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) but also need to be understood in relation to the Ecological Determinants of Health (EDoH). Through an eco-social lens, this paper explores these conceptual issues and uses them to provide a framework for understanding the interplay of social and ecological determinants of mental health for children/youth.
... Moreover, empirical studies indicate that worry is one of the main emotions related to climate change and that negative feelings of loss, pessimism and hopelessness are common, especially among young people (Grund and Brock, 2019;Ojala, 2012Ojala, , 2016Stevenson and Peterson, 2016;Stoknes, 2015). According to a study conducted by Tucci et al. (2007), as many as 27% of Australian adolescents believed that the world will end before they grow old due to the effects of climate change. ...
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The paper offers a pedagogical response to the complexity of sustainability challenges that takes the existential and emotional dimensions of climate change seriously. To this end, the paper unfolds in two parts. The first part makes a distinction between ‘public pedagogy’ as an area of educational scholarship and ‘pedagogical publics’ as a theoretical lens for identifying certain qualities within educational environments, exploring what potential this distinction has for rethinking public pedagogy for sustainable development. Turning to Bonnie Honig (2015) and her call for creating ‘holding environments’ in the public sphere as a response to the democratic need of our time, the second part translates her political notion into an educational notion asking what fostering pedagogical publics as holding environments might involve. In relation to sustainability challenges, it is suggested that an environment that ‘holds’ people together as a pedagogical public has three main qualities: a) it makes room for new rituals for sustainable living to be developed in order to offer a sense of permanence; b) it invites narratives that can frame sustainability challenges in more positive registers; and c) it reinstates an intergenerational difference that serves to give back hopes and dreams to adults and children in troubling times.
... Z kolei, jak sugerują analizy, dzieci i młodzież dorastające w niepewnej przyszłości mogą rozwinąć zaburzenia nastroju oraz zaburzenia lękowe. Jedna czwarta australijskich dzieci jest do tego stopnia zaniepokojona stanem świata, że deklaruje przekonanie, że skończy się on, zanim dorosną [15]. ...
Thesis
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L’éducation des jeunes au climat représente une voie incontournable pour faire face aux changements climatiques et ainsi améliorer le sort de l’humanité (Kwauk, 2020; UNESCO, 2020). Elle fait toutefois face à de nombreux défis tels que la complexité et l’inertie de la problématique qui nous empêche de percevoir rapidement les effets des gestes que l’on pose. De plus, il semble que l’éducation telle qu’elle se réalise actuellement en classe du secondaire laisse généralement les jeunes désespérés et anxieux face à la problématique des changements climatiques. Afin de développer le pouvoir agir des jeunes, les intervenantes et intervenants du secondaire gagneraient à aborder différemment cette problématique en classe. Dans le domaine de l’éducation au climat, il apparaît nécessaire de dépasser un simple enseignement des faits scientifiques et de miser davantage sur un enseignement sociocritique des questions environnementales et une plus grande prise en compte des dimensions affectives impliquées. Le sentiment de pouvoir agir des jeunes face aux changements climatiques semble, en ce sens, porteur et pourrait être développé en classe. Bien que le sentiment de pouvoir agir ne soit pas conceptualisé jusqu’à maintenant dans la littérature scientifique, un nombre grandissant de chercheuses et de chercheurs s’intéressent néanmoins à une éducation au climat pour le développement du pouvoir agir. Or, il ne semble pas y avoir de consensus entre ceux-ci sur ce qui est entendu par pouvoir agir. Certains réfèrent au sentiment d’efficacité personnelle, tandis que d’autres privilégient le concept d’agentivité ou encore celui d’empowerment (développement du pouvoir agir), mais plus rares sont les chercheuses et chercheurs qui en proposent une conceptualisation suffisamment précise. De cerner les apports et les limites de chacun de ces concepts ainsi que les liens entre ceux-ci semble donc pertinent. Une théorie en particulier, celle des capabilités de Sen (1985, 2010), permet d’ailleurs de rassembler ces trois concepts. Elle permet également de réaffirmer la pertinence de s’intéresser au sentiment de pouvoir agir et, par le fait même, aux différentes formes de liberté (Sen, 2010) que devraient posséder les jeunes. L’étude empirique menée dans le cadre de ce travail de thèse visait à caractériser ce sentiment de pouvoir agir à partir de la manière dont des jeunes en parlent afin d’en arriver à en cerner les différentes dimensions. La population cible de cette recherche était constituée de jeunes Québécoises et Québécois de la fin du secondaire qui terminent leur scolarité obligatoire et ont reçu un enseignement spécifique sur la thématique des changements climatiques tel que prévu au programme scolaire qui vise notamment à développer leur pouvoir agir. Au total, 29 jeunes francophones, 18 filles et 11 garçons, de 15 à 17 ans ont participé à des entretiens de groupe semi-dirigés, dans cinq écoles secondaires du Québec. L’analyse thématique réalisée autour des données qualitatives obtenues à la suite de ces entretiens a permis de caractériser le sentiment de pouvoir agir des jeunes de la fin du secondaire face aux changements climatiques, et ainsi, d’en cerner les dimensions principales. La synthèse de ces données qualitatives analysées à la lumière du cadre théorique développé a permis de dégager des conditions favorables au développement du sentiment de pouvoir agir des jeunes à l’école secondaire. Cette synthèse mène entre autres à affirmer la nécessité, pour le développement de ce sentiment de pouvoir agir face aux changements climatiques, de la solidarité intergénérationnelle, du bien-être des jeunes et des opportunités que nous leur accordons. Elle nous invite également à considérer véritablement les jeunes comme des interlocutrices et des interlocuteurs valables à qui il faut accorder davantage de confiance et de libertés.
Chapter
This chapter considers the significance of hope, fear and other emotions for developing effective climate crisis education. This includes examining both problems with invocations of climate hope; but also worries about the possible harmful effects that fear, panic and anxiety in relation to the climate crisis are claimed to have. The chapter suggest that one way out of these conflicts is to return to the theory and practice of a “pedagogy of hope,” that is most closely associated with Paulo Freire, but has a long history as a core component of education projects committed to radical social transformation among leftist, feminist and anti-racist activists and educators.