Herald Sun (Aust) October 15, 2008
ONE in five Australian children has an anxiety disorder, thanks to modern conveniences such as mobile phones and shopping centres. Fast-paced living — too little sleep, too many gadgets, too much sugar, too many demands and too little family support — is making children overly anxious, an international expert in childhood disorders told an Australian psychiatry conference yesterday. Children as young as three had disorders leading them to be overanxious, fear separation from their parents, have poor attention, or have learning problems, Prof Paula Barrett told the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in Port Douglas.
“It is the speed of life that is doing this to our children — everything from loud noises to mobile phones to shopping centres,” Prof Barrett said. “In most families both parents are in the workforce and the child doesn’t have the ability to grow up and be nurtured enough from within the family,” she told the Herald Sun. “Children are becoming very sensitive to change — whether it’s a new teacher at school or a new house. They are just not coping.