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Childhood 'poisoned by modern world'

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  • SerenaBlaue@aol.com
    http://www.24dash.com/news/7/10331/index.htm Childhood poisoned by modern world Publisher: Ian Morgan Published: 12/09/2006 - 08:41:11 AM Childhood is being
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 12, 2006

      Childhood 'poisoned by modern world'

      Publisher: Ian Morgan
      Published: 12/09/2006 - 08:41:11 AM

      Childhood is being lost to a dangerous combination of junk food, marketing
      and video games, experts warned today.

      A group of 110 teachers, psychologists, children's authors and other experts
      have written to the Daily Telegraph urging the Government to act, warning
      children are being poisoned by the modern world.

      The group includes children's laureate Jacqueline Wilson, novelist Philip
      Pullman, Baroness Susan Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution and child
      care expert Dr Penelope Leach.

      They write: "We are deeply concerned at the escalating incidence of childhood
      depression and children's behavioural and developmental conditions.

      "Since children's brains are still developing, they cannot adjust as
      full-grown adults can, to the effects of ever more rapid technological and cultural

      "They need what developing human beings have always needed, including real
      food (as opposed to processed "junk"), real play (as opposed to sedentary,
      screen based entertainment), first hand experience of the world they live in and
      regular interaction with the real-life significant adults in their lives.

      "They also need time. In a fast-moving, hyper-competitive culture, today's
      children are expected to cope with an ever-earlier start to formal schoolwork
      and an overly academic test-driven primary curriculum."

      It concludes by calling for a public debate on child-rearing in the 21st

      The letter was circulated by Sue Palmer, a former head teacher and author of
      the book Toxic Childhood, and Dr Richard House, senior lecturer at the
      Research Centre for Therapeutic Education at Roehampton University.

      Mrs Palmer cited research by Professor Michael Shayer at King's College,
      London, which showed that 11-year-olds measured in cognitive tests were "on
      average between two and three years behind where they were 15 years ago".

      She said: "It is like this giant elephant in all our living rooms, the fact
      that children's development is being drastically affected by the kind of world
      they are brought up in.

      "I think it is shocking. We must make a public statement - a child's physical
      and psychological growth cannot be accelerated.

      "Childhood is not a race."

      Other signatories include environmental campaigner Sir Jonathon Porritt,
      Professor Tim Brighouse, the Commissioner for London Schools, and Sir Richard
      Bowlby, President of the Centre for Child Mental Health.

      Copyright Press Association 2006
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