Happiness in Children Drops After 11, Girls Hit Harder

A survey of nearly 7,000 children between the ages of 11-16 in the UK has found that after the age of 11, the happiness of kids drops a substantial amount. And girls were more vulnerable than boys in this slump.

The study, carried out by 50 youth charities for the New Philanthropy Capital think tank, measured happiness in eight categories: "overall satisfaction, self-esteem, emotional well-being, resilience and satisfaction with friends, family, community and school."

As reported in the Daily Mail:

Dr Simon Davey, Programme Leader of the Emerging Scholars' Intervention Programme, said: 'Technology and the pace of change have accelerated pressures, made them more extreme and increased competition.

'Girls in particular are more vulnerable to social pressures affecting their confidence and capability.

The report found that by age 11, the average girl's emotional well being is already worse than that of boys, and while that age is pretty difficult for anyone, this particular generation has had to deal with the huge influx of easily accessible images and beauty standards those images create. Researchers have pointed to an increased exposure to technology and tech-related issues like cyber-bullying and the accessibility of sexualized images as one of the many elements in this pattern:

'Their self-esteem levels fall away badly, while boys' remain relatively stable. Girls start off happier with their friends, but by age 16 this has tumbled below the level for boys. The research is unsettling.

'Our findings could...reflect recent concerns about the insidiousness of sexism to which girls are now subject: the profusion of sexualised imagery in everyday life; readier access to pornography; and again, new technology, and specifically the ease with which images and videos can be shared among peers.'

Again, adolescence is just an exasperating time in everyone's lives, but now there's more evidence that can link the images that create beauty standards and pressures to a lowered self-esteem in young girls. Hopefully with this type of data, youth programs can develop and tailor their strategies to meet kids where they're at.

Image via Getty.