David Cameron launched a quality of childhood review in Trafford today which will look specifically at the three areas of "subjective well-being", "behaviours & risks", and "family & peer relationships" – the categories in which UK children had the worst ratings in the recent UNICEF report.
The report was criticised for measuring poverty relatively, but it did highlight worrying levels of unhappiness amongst our children.
In particular, this review will focus on these important issues:
- Extended families – have we raised barriers to a broader-based family life?
- Fathers and sons – are there particular problems affecting boys?
- Advertising to children – how can society protect children better form commercialisation of childhood?
- Play and space – are children growing up in a flat world, with insufficient space and time to play and explore the world for themselves unsupervised?
- Stranger danger – have we allowed fears of strangers to obstruct normal contacts between adults and children putting too much pressure on parents and schools?
The review will be chaired by the cerebral David Willetts MP who will publish its findings later this year. Two authors critical of contemporary lifestyle – Sue Palmer ("Toxic Childhood") and Tim Gill ("No Fear: Growing up in a risk-averse society") – are amongst his distinguished panel of advisers.