Both the Daily Telegraph and the The Daily Mail reported this week on the plight of children and childhood in the UK as the Save Childhood Movement was launched.
The movement’s development director, Wendy Ellyatt, who is also an author and consultant in early education, said the launch reflected growing concerns over the state of modern childhood. The movement will campaign on a range of issues covering education, health, technology and commercial pressures that hamper children’s development.
The move follows the publication of a landmark report from Unicef last year that found British parents were trapping their children in a cycle of “compulsive consumerism” by showering them with toys and designer labels instead of spending quality time with them.
This came after a 2007 study by the UN children’s agency ranked Britain bottom out of 21 developed countries for child welfare and third from bottom for educational standards.
The Save Childhood Movement is backed by leading figures such as Baroness Greenfield, the Oxford University neuroscientist, Sally Goddard-Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-physiological psychology in Chester, Prof Lilian Katz, an expert in early childhood education at Illinois University, and Dr Richard House, senior lecturer in psychotherapy at Roehampton University. The movement believes that `this erosion has resulted in a modern generation of children that are disconnected not only from their love of learning, but also from their innate sense of self worth and belonging. It has created a culture with increasingly high levels of childhood depression and dysfunction and profoundly compromised child wellbeing.`
The movement, similar in many of its aims to the Alliance for Childhood, hopes to: `identify and highlight those areas of most concern, to protect children from all inappropriate developmental and cultural pressures and to fight for their natural developmental rights. It aims to provide a critical platform for dialogue and debate and to unite those individuals and organisations already calling for change.`