In Brief

Crime number one fear of British children

Children are getting less happy year by year - and social media may be at least partly to blame

Crime is the number one fear among Britain's children, according to the Children's Society annual report.

The charity found that almost 40 per cent of 10 to 17-year-olds worry about crime and fear being the victim of theft. The second biggest fear was being followed by a stranger, with fear of being assaulted third.

Although concern about crime is widespread, "the fear is greater than the reality - with 17 per cent of children reporting that they had been a victim of crime in the last 12 months", says the BBC.

Psychologist Geoff Beattie told BBC Breakfast that social media was a "big player" in making children feel they are in more danger than they actually are.

"We can see images of all kinds of horrible things that can happen and they affect our estimates of the probability of those things happening," he said.

However, while children may be over-exagerating the risk posed to them, the charity did find that overall levels of happiness among children had fallen year-on-year, with safety, parental debt and money struggles most likely to damage a child's happiness.

In May, the Local Government Association said services for vulnerable children were at "breaking point", predicting a £2bn funding gap by 2020. This has prompted the Children's Society to urge the government to do more to increase funding for vulnerable children.

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