Childhood is being "poisoned" by a culture of junk food, marketing, video games and school targets, experts have warned.
Rapid technological advances and a lack of interaction with "real-life" adults - as opposed to via a computer screen - are leading to a rise in the number of children suffering psychological and behavioural problems, they said.
Sue Palmer, author of the book Toxic Childhood, said children remain fundamentally the same, despite social, cultural and technological changes in the past 20 years. "Our world is so modern and technological we think children are going to be modern and technological as well," she said. "But they are still the same biological creatures. We must remember that children need interaction with real-life adults."
A group of 110 teachers, psychologists and novelists, including the writer Philip Pullman and the director of the Royal Institution, Baroness Susan Greenfield, have called on the Government to improve the experience of growing up.