Online pressures creating nation of "deeply unhappy" children, says ChildLine

New figures released by counselling service ChildLine show low self-esteem to be among the most prevalent problems reported by today's young people.

The charity, which is marking its 30th year, warns that Britain's children are "deeply unhappy" and have to deal with fears and worries that did not exist three decades ago.

The research found online pressures such as cyberbullying and social media are affecting children's confidence and self-esteem but when the 24-hour helpline began in 1986, children's biggest concerns were sexual abuse, family problems, physical abuse and pregnancy.

Last year, the main issues raised were family relationships, low self-esteem and unhappiness, bullying (including cyberbullying) and self-harm.

Overall, 35,244 of the counselling sessions held by ChildLine in 2014/15 were related to low self-esteem and unhappiness - an increase of 9 per cent on the previous year. The number of sessions the helpline runs each year has increased significantly since it was founded - from 23,530 in 1986/7 to 286,812 in 2014/15.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "It is clear from the hundreds of thousands of calls ChildLine receives that we have a nation of deeply unhappy children. The pressure to keep up with friends and have the perfect life online is adding to the sadness that many young people feel on a daily basis."

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