British teenagers believe they will have a harder life than their parents, research has found

British teenagers believe their generation will have a worse life than their parents, according to new research.

Money, jobs and the climate crisis were among the concerns of 1,001 teenagers aged 14 to 17 surveyed by YouGov for children’s charity Barnardo’s.

When asked to imagine their lives at age 30, 55% of teens said they believed their lives would be worse than those of the previous generation, while another 34% thought the lives of the next generation of children would not be better.

Of those surveyed, 9% said they felt ‘hopeless’ about their future.

Lynn Perry, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said children believing their lives would be harder than their parents’ was “a sign that the social contract has been broken and we risk failing the next generation”.

“Our job is to make the world better for our children, not worse,” she added.

One teenager said, “Everyone is having a hard time these days. My mother struggles to pay the bills and she is a nurse with a master’s degree. I’m not that smart, so imagine my life will be harder than hers. We used to be able to go on holiday, but mom can no longer afford it.”

Another said: “My parents got their mortgage at 21. I don’t think people my age will be able to do that.”

Money worries were something 19% thought they would struggle with, as they thought they wouldn’t have enough money to live comfortably at age 30. Of the teens surveyed, 10% felt like they couldn’t change their future.

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The bleak picture of children’s lives in Britain is revealed in a new report from Barnardo’s – Changing Childhoods, Changing Lives – which looks at the impact of issues such as the cost of living, the Covid pandemic and environmental problems.

“Children are constantly bombarded with news about the challenges they face – from rising inequality and environmental concerns to health problems and an out-of-control housing market,” says Perry. “None of this is of their doing, but it is simply not right that children should fear the coming years instead of feeling excited about their future. We know this is especially true for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

The charity predicts that conditions could become even more difficult, with children’s mental health problems rising, an increased risk of online exploitation and more young people in care.