Children are unhappier than a year ago

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A new government survey has found that children in England are unhappier than they were a year ago and trust their parents and other adults less.

According to the Tellus survey, 67% of children said they were happy with their lives, compared with 69% last year, reports the Guardian newspaper.

Only four out of 10 of the nearly 254,000 children polled in the new survey said they could talk to an adult other than their parents about their troubles, compared with more than half last year.

64% of children said they could trust their parents with their worries, compared to 66% last year, and two-thirds said they could talk to their friends, compared with 71% last year.

The survey also found that fewer children are going to their local park or playground. Two-thirds said they had played there in the last month, compared to almost three-quarters last year.

Fewer are going to youth clubs too – 28%, down from 32%, said they had gone to a youth group for an organised activity.

The same proportion as last year are getting drunk regularly and taking drugs. Some 6% had been drunk once in the previous month and 4% had been drunk twice. Just 1% said they had taken cannabis in the last month and the same proportion admitted to inhaling solvents and taking a class A drug.

Fewer children are smoking once a day. Some 3% do so now, compared to 4% last year.

More than a quarter of children – 26% – said they had been bullied at school in the past year and 30% said they had been bullied outside school. Last year's bullying figures were discounted because of errors.

Asked about their anxieties, a quarter said they often worried about being bullied, while 51% said they regularly worried about school work and exams. These figures are roughly the same as last year. Just over one in seven said they were often anxious about sex and three in 10 regularly fret about their looks.

Poor local environments, high family unemployment, and the low numbers of young people in education or training are blamed for the UK's poor showing in the children's wellbeing league.

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