Melbourne, Oct 15 : Almost 20 pct of the Australian kids suffer from anxiety disorder, courtesy fast paced living, says a leading expert.
Prof Paula Barrett, an international expert in childhood disorders insists that too little sleep, too many gadgets, too much sugar, too many demands and too little family support is making these kids overly anxious.
Children as young as three had disorders leading them to be overanxious, fear separation from their parents, have poor attention, or have learning problems, the expert said.
"It is the speed of life that is doing this to our children - everything from loud noises to mobile phones to shopping centres," the Daily Telegraph quoted Prof Barrett, as saying.
"In most families both parents are in the workforce and the child doesn't have the ability to grow up and be nurtured enough from within the family," she told the Herald Sun.
"Children are becoming very sensitive to change - whether it's a new teacher at school or a new house. They are just not coping.
"There are just so many things happening to people these days. Kids have an incredible amount of stimulation, which is just too much.
"Most children are sleep-deprived. Even five-year-olds are staying up until 11pm playing on the computer," she added.
Barrett, who runs Brisbane's Pathways Health and Research Centre, said children were "coming in to school after lunch having had just a bottle of coke for lunch and even perfectly calm children couldn't concentrate after that".
"We need resilience programs that focus on health and wellbeing and happiness," she added.
Barrett suggested that children require positive attachment with peers, family and teachers, support from extended family and community networks, friends, a sense of belonging at school or kinder and good community relationships.