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Modern life eroding childhood, warn experts

London , Sun, 25 Sep 2011 ANI

London, Sept 25 (ANI): A group of experts from all walks of life have written a letter calling for a drive to "interrupt the erosion of childhood".


The group of 200 teachers, academics, authors and charity leaders, which also includes novelist Philip Pullman, Oxford University neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, and Lord Layard, emeritus professor of economics at the London School of Economics has warned that children are growing up too quickly because of a combination of early testing in school, advertising, bad childcare and a reliance on computer games.


"Our children are subjected to increasing commercial pressures, they begin formal education earlier than the European norm, and they spend ever more time indoors with screen-based technology, rather than in outdoor activity," the Daily Mail quoted them as writing.


"The time has come to move from awareness to action.


"We call on all organisations and individuals concerned about the erosion of childhood to come together to achieve the following: public information campaigns about children's developmental needs, what constitutes "quality childcare", and the dangers of a consumerist screen-based life-style; the establishment of a genuinely play-based curriculum in nurseries and primary schools up to the age of six, free from the downward pressure of formal learning, tests and targets," they stated.


The letter written to the Daily Telegraph, which also called for initiatives to ensure that children's outdoor play and connection to nature are encouraged, banning of all forms of marketing directed at children up to at least age seven, came five years after many of the same experts wrote to the newspaper urging the Government to stop children being poisoned by the modern world.


The comments of the experts led to an inquiry into the state of childhood by the Children's Society, which was concerned about rising levels of depression among youngsters in the UK.


"It is everyone's responsibility to challenge policy-making and cultural developments that entice children into growing up too quickly - and to protect their right to be healthy and joyful natural learners," they said. (ANI)


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