Early pressure leads to mental health problems in kids

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London, Apr 21 (UNI) Millions of children are in the grip of mental health disorders ranging from depression, anxiety and anorexia to violent delinquency, because they are forced to grow up too quickly.

Binge-drinking, increased availability of drugs, family breakdown and pressure to look fashionable and attractive are contributing towards the trend, according to a British report from The Children's Society inquiry into the state of childhood.

''Everything is in children's faces 24 hours a day these days in terms of what is happening in the world, and that can be a problem for sensitive children,'' Ms Michele Elliott of child protection charity Kidscape, said.

''The pressures on children are horrendous and I think parents are guilty of buying into it,'' she said.

The report also cites the problems of social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace, which may increase pressure on children to be 'cool' or 'skinny'.

While in the past, children might have had a close group of childhood friends, but now they are being given the message that they are not a whole person unless they have 392 friends online, Ms Elliott said, adding that the preassure is to appear cool and sophisticated.

The report, to be published later this week, focus on children's health, examining their behaviour and feelings of self-worth. It urges parents to do more to steer children away from anti-social behaviour and a life of crime and unemployment and encourages them to praise their children more frequently instead of repeatedly criticising them, said a report in the Daily Mail.

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