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How the US election is giving British children anxiety

Julian Stratenschulte | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. election, as well as other global issues including Brexit and Europe's refugee crisis, is giving British children anxiety, data released today by a leading U.K.-based children's charity reveals.

"Concerns about world affairs such as the EU Referendum, the US election and trouble in the Middle East" were causes of stress in children, according to a statement Monday from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), based on data from its Childline subsidiary.

Childline, a charity which offers children and young people the opportunity to discuss their problems, has noted a 35 percent rise in counselling sessions focusing on anxiety in the past year.

"Things like the EU referendum and the US election make me worry about my future and how things are going to change. … I feel really sorry for the refugees because it isn't their fault that their country is at war," said one teenage girl contacting Childline.

John Cameron, head of helplines at the NSPCC, told CNBC via telephone that children are troubled by "uncertainty about what will happen in the new world."

As well as children overhearing their parents discussing global issues, Cameron cited the role of 24 hour news and readily available internet access as increasing children's exposure to such topics.


"Children are becoming more sophisticated in how they engage with the world," Cameron said.

Anxiety was felt in children as young as 8, the data showed, with girls 7 times more likely to contact the organization than boys.

"I'm really worried about what is going on in the world. … People have talked about a world war starting and I get really scared thinking about this," one anonymous young boy is quoted as saying in Childline's press release.

Esther Rantzen, president of Childline said in the NSPCC's press release: "Seeing pictures of crying and bewildered toddlers being pulled from bomb-damaged homes upsets all of us. Often we fail to notice the impact these stories are having on young people."

Childline launched a "Worries about the World" webpage in September of this year which has since received just under 5,000 visits.

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