Archbishop warns of 'crisis' in modern childhood

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The Archbishop of Canterbury today warned family separations and commercial pressures are causing a crisis in modern childhood.

Dr Rowan Williams says a new generation of young parents fail to offer the right example to their children who, in turn, are becoming "infant adults", the BBC reports.

His comments come as an inquiry is launched into the state of childhood by the Children's Society, which is concerned about rising levels of child depression in the UK.

The independent inquiry by the charity is looking at all aspects of childhood amid growing concern over the health and quality of children's lives.

It is understood the Archbishop fears we are creating a society where adults, having not been properly cared for as children, are themselves unable to bring up their own offspring.

The Children's Society is concerned about a climate of "fear and confusion" amongst young people.

It points to higher levels of depression and mental illness in the country than elsewhere in the European Union.

Last week 110 academics, teachers, psychologists and authors, including Baroness Greenfield, Penelope Leach, Children's Laureate Jacqueline Wilson and author Philip Pullman, wrote an open letter published by the Daily Telegraph stating that modern life is compromising the mental health of unacceptably large numbers of children.

They highlighted "the escalating incidence of childhood depression" and warned that poor diet, the rise of video games at the expense of outdoor play and modern education was stifling the natural creativity of many youngsters.