Survey of England’s children

Children's World Report

Children’s Worlds survey has been conducting research across the world understanding children in a range of countries.  The latest survey for England has recently been published, based on research from late 2013 and early 2014.

There’s a huge wealth of statistics in the 38 page report which is worth digging into.  Here’s how the research sample was taken:

The England sample was designed to achieve a nationally representative sample of children aged 8 to 9 years old, aged 10 to 11 years old and aged 12 to 13 years old with at least 1,000 children in each group. The primary sampling unit was schools. Separate samples were drawn for Years 4 and 6 (primary school education) and Year 8 (secondary school education). Both samples followed the same methodology. First, a complete list of schools in England was stratified into five groups by the proportion of children receiving free school meals (a very rough indicator of economic prosperity). These groups were approximate quintiles (based on numbers of pupils in each stratum). The approximation was because of a lack of precision in the data available on free school meal entitlement. Within each stratum schools were selected randomly with probabilities proportional to size (number of pupils), with the aim of achieving a target of at least eight schools per stratum. Within each selected school, one class group (not grouped on pupil ability) was randomly selected.

The experiences of 11-16 year olds on social networking sites

The NSPCC earlier this week launched a new research report into the experiences of 11-16 year olds on social networking sites and the strategies they use to deal with things that upset them online.  Researchers conducted an online self completion survey in December 2012 of 1,024 11-16 year olds in the UK.

NSPCC Report Cover

Here’s some of the key findings:

  • Over one in four (28%) of children aged 11-16 with a profile on a social networking site have experienced something upsetting on it in the last year.
  • Of the children and young people who were upset, 11% were dealing with upsetting experiences on a daily basis.
  • The most reported issue experienced on social networking sites was trolling, experienced by 37% of children who had been upset.
  • Other issues experienced by children who had been upset included: pressure to look or act a certain way (14%), cyber stalking (12%), aggressive and violent language (18%), encouragement to hurt themselves (3%), receiving unwanted sexual messages (12%), and requests to send or respond to a sexual message (8%).
  • Over half of 11-16 year olds (58%) believed at least one of the people responsible for the behaviour which had upset or bothered them was either a complete stranger, someone they only knew online, or they did not know who it was at all.
  • Only 22% of the children who were upset talked with someone else face to face about the experience.

Download the full report from the NSPCC: The experiences of 11-16 year olds on social networking sites.

87% of American teenagers send text messages each month

We all know teenagers are glued to their mobile phones. New data from the Family Online Safety Institute shows which mobile activities are keeping them hooked.

Text messaging is the most popular activity, which 87% of teens have done in the past 30 days. More than 80% of teens also have also participated in mobile gaming, emailing and social networking.

Statista‘s chart shows how many teens engage in different mobile activities:

Digitial Life of Teens

A Dad for Christmas

Christmas presents

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.  But a survey highlighted in The Telegraph of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.  But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.

The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock.  Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.

Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.

iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot. One child asked for Eva Longoria and another wanted Harry Styles from One Direction.

A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.

Economist: A McDonald’s burger is the cheapest, most nutritious food in human history

Burger

When starvation, rather than obesity, is your problem, then McDonald’s has the solution. Economist Stephen Dubner, one of the authors of Freakanomics, argues that the McDonald’s McDouble (pictured above) is the most nutritious food ever devised:

Stephen Dubner, who co-authored the best-selling book, hosted a debate on his blog after a reader suggested the McDouble packed a better nutritional punch for the penny than is often assumed.

The double cheeseburger provides 390 calories, 23 grams of protein – half a daily serving – seven per cent of daily fibre, 19 grams of fat and 20 per cent of daily calcium, all for between $1 and $2, or 65p and £1.30,The Times reported. […]

Mr Dubner added: “The more I thought about the question, whether the McDouble is the cheapest, most bountiful, and nutritious food ever, the more I realised how you answer that question says a lot about how you see the world, not only our food system and the economics of it, but even social justice.”

Go check out the full story from The Daily Telegraph.

Few Muslims know Christians

A new report on global Christianity says that people of other faiths in northern Europe have less personal contact with Christians than agnostics and atheists.

Christianity in its Global Context, 1970-2020 a report produced by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, says that 82% of people in northern Europe have personal contact with a Christian.  If you remove agnostics and atheists from the figures this drops to 21%.

Globally the report found that Muslims have less contact with Christians than Jews.

Impulsive teenagers more prone to heavy drinking

drinking-drunk

An interesting article on research from the University of Liverpool that has shown that young people who show more impulsive tendencies are more prone to drinking heavily at an early age:

The research suggests that targeting personality traits, such as impulsivity, could potentially be a successful intervention in preventing adolescent drinking from developing into problems with alcohol in later life.

Studies in the UK show that approximately 24% of 12 year olds have reported at least one episode of alcohol consumption, rising to 77% of 15 year olds.

Previous research has suggested that impulsive behaviour is linked with adolescent drinking, but it is unclear whether young people who are impulsive tend to drink more, or whether drinking whilst the brain is still developing is particularly harmful and can lead to the progression of impulsive behaviours.

The team used computer tests that measured inhibitory control, the ability to delay gratification, and risk-taking. More than 280 young people who were aged 12 or 13 at the beginning of the study took part in the study. The participants repeated the computer tests every six months over the two years of the study.

Results showed that those participants who were more impulsive in the tests went on to drink more heavily or have problems with alcohol at a later time. The study did not, however, show that alcohol consumption led to increased impulsive behaviour on the computer tests. This suggests that there is a link between impulsivity and adolescent drinking, but that alcohol may not necessarily lead to increased impulsive behaviour in the short-term.

Professor Matt Field, from the University’s Institute of Psychology Health and Society, explains: “Young people in the UK are starting to drink alcohol at a younger age than in the past, and much of this reflects broad social trends. There are, however, significant differences in the age at which teenagers start to experiment with alcohol and the age at which they start drinking regularly.”

“It is important to identify the psychological characteristics of adolescents who are likely to go on to drink heavily, because this can help us target alcohol prevention more effectively. In addition, we need to identify the consequences of heavy drinking during adolescence for health in general, and brain development in particular.”

“Our results show that more impulsive individuals are more likely to start drinking heavily in the future compared to less impulsive individuals. The next steps are to take these results and apply them to prevention interventions that are tailored to individual characteristics, such as impulsivity.”

“We also need to conduct studies where we follow-up young people for longer than the two years that we did in the present study. This will help us to understand whether heavy drinking over a longer period during adolescence has an impact on impulsive behaviour.”

Poverty in schools

Unison-logo

UNISON has published the results of a survey of 3,000 school support staff. Key findings include:

  • 87% say children are coming to school tired
  • 85% say children are coming to school hungry
  • 80% see children coming to school without proper uniforms or in worn out clothes
  • 73% believe that poverty has a negative impact on the education of the children in their school
  • 57% see the children in their school in poor physical health
  • 55% believe that some children at their school appear to be suffering mental health issues as a result of rising poverty levels
  • 55% have seen an increase in the number of children who rely on breakfast clubs in this school year

Children of Divorce More Likely to Become Smokers

Smoking

The Atlantic has reported on how children of divorce are more likely to become smokers:

Researchers at the University of Toronto weren’t able to prove that children of divorced parents turn to cigarettes as a coping mechanism from lingering childhood trauma. But they did find that people whose parents had divorced when they were children were at a significantly increased risk of initiating smoking.

Of the 19,000 U.S adults included in the study, the odds of having smoked 100 or more cigarettes increased by 48 and 39 percent for sons and daughters of separated or divorced parents, respectively. The “100 or more” metric is the CDC’s way of deciding who counts as a smoker (people who never reach that milestone get to be labeled “never smokers.”)

Gender-specific association between childhood adversities and smoking in adulthood: findings from a population-based studywas published in Public Health.

‘The Church in Action’ – latest research report from Church Urban Fund

Church Urban Fund

Church Urban Fund’s latest research report The Church in Action: a national survey of church-led social action quantifies the scale of Anglican church-led social action in England, explores the types of activities that parishes run and identifies the social needs they help to address.

Our findings show that thousands of parish churches around the country play an active role in their local community, running lunch clubs for older people, after school clubs for children living in deprived areas or food banks for parents desperately trying to feed their families.

These activities, and many others like them, are signs of parish churches quietly serving disadvantaged or vulnerable members of their community.

Latest research from Church Urban Fund

Church Urban Fund report

Survival Strategies: A survey of the impact of the current economic climate on community organisations in the most deprived areas of England

Church Urban Fund’s latest research report examines the impact of the current economic climate on community organisations in the most deprived areas of England.

It follows two reports published by Church Urban Fund in 2011, ‘At the Cutting Edge’ and ‘Holding on by a Shoestring’, which looked in detail at how public spending cuts were affecting people and organisations at a grassroots level. Returning a year later to the same organisations, we wanted to examine the ongoing effects of the economic climate.

We found that the current economic climate is having a significant impact upon community organisations and people living in deprived areas of England. This impact can be seen in the rising demand for services and the difficulty of securing funding.

However, in response to these difficulties, organisations are employing a range of survival strategies in order to meet rising demand with rising service provision.