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Our childhood years are hugely influential on the way we grow and develop into adults. Children who are given the freedom to play, explore, be creative, ask questions and build positive relationships with others, mature into responsible and caring adults who have the potential to do great things.

Every generation has its own societal problems and lots of us will be familiar with the “you don’t know you’re born” commentary from parents or grandparents stating how the younger generation have a far easier time than they ever did. However, children today are being exposed to a whole variety of socioeconomic pressures that were unknown to previous generations, the result of which is increased levels of anxiety and distress.

In today’s society, children are struggling to cope with the impact of external pressures and the weight of expectation and judgment from others. Financial hardship within families may mean that children go hungry or have limited access to healthy options. They have fewer opportunities to enjoy the benefits of playing outdoors due to safety concerns or the lack of green spaces. This means that exposure to fresh air and exercise is limited, but it also prevents many children from interacting with and learning about nature.

The rise in online technology and the use of social media has been linked to poor concentration and sleep problems, delayed social skills development, cyber-bullying and grooming. The demands of the school system with exam pressures and the expectation to achieve specific grades is highly stressful, especially for those children who struggle academically or have pressures and responsibilities at home to manage.

Family upheavals such as illness, parental disputes, separation, divorce, new partners and drug & alcohol abuse in the home all have a serious effect on the mental wellbeing of the children. For these children, the image of a happy and carefree childhood is far from their reality.

Raising awareness of the importance of a happy and healthy childhood, the Save Childhood Movement is today (16th May) holding its seventh annual National Children’s Day. The campaign centres on protecting the rights and freedoms of children to enable them to grow into happy and healthy adults. Across the UK, organisations will be promoting their projects and events to help children live their best lives, as well as listening to what children themselves have to say about the issues that are important to them.

The key focus of this year’s campaign is to celebrate and champion all the people and organisations that have striven to protect child and family wellbeing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Although children were categorised as least at risk of contracting or becoming seriously ill from the virus, the impact of the pandemic on them has still been significant.

With schools closed and repeated lockdowns calling for everyone to be confined to their homes, children have had to adapt to having their world view restricted to four walls. From being isolated from their friends, to home schooling and the cancelling of major exams, to concerns for the health and safety of family members and fears for the future, it has been a very traumatic and upsetting time for children and young people.

For all those parents, schools, groups and organisations that have gone above and beyond to support children throughout the pandemic, the resulting benefits cannot be understated. By continuing to prioritise the health, wellbeing and educational needs of children in their communities, they have helped these children to build resilience, stay focused on learning, and remain on track with their development.

AlphaBiolabs carry out DNA, drug and alcohol testing for local authorities, family law and child welfare organisations. To learn more, call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email testing@alphabiolabs.com.

We have also recently launched our Giving Back campaign: throughout 2021, we will make a £5 donation for every legal instruction we receive from local authorities and the legal sector to support four extraordinary charities that work closely with some of the UK’s most vulnerable children and families.