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A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Childhood



Please see below recent childhood-related change


See also:


In figures:


May 2024

  • Childhood maltreatment as a whole has a tremendous impact on mental health: it’s estimated that about a third of all adult mental illness and half of all childhood mental illness is related to it. A set of issues known as ‘adverse childhood experiences’ (ACEs) include physical, sexual and emotional abuse (which can mean behaviours such as constant criticism, threats and intimidation), physical neglect and emotional neglect. Other adverse experiences can include household dysfunction, mental illness in the household, and witnessing domestic violence or other forms of (psychological, sexual, financial, emotional) aggression between intimate partners. Broadly defined as negative life events before the age of 18, childhood maltreatment serves as another term for these various experiences.


April 2024


February 2024

  • The US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children received 4,700 reports of AI-generated images depicting child sexual exploitation in 2023. This highlighted one of the most concerning uses of generative AI, one that lawmakers and private companies are still grappling with.


November 2023


October 2023


August 2023

  • The School of Life claimed that we contain within ourselves a version of all the people we have ever been. There is, in recessive form, somewhere in the folds of our natures, a confused teenager, a sad child, a jealous or hungry infant. No version of us entirely disappears, it is merely added to and buttressed, just like an oak tree that still contains, in its rings, the marks of all its former circumferences.
  • Generation Z, born from 1995 onward, has been raised with “moral dependency,” according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. As the first generation to get social media at age 13, Gen Z has been denied the independence that previous generations enjoyed - the “free play”, the time spent off devices. In general, Haidt argues that this generation is more fragile and sensitive to conflict, insults, and exclusion, making them less adept at solving problems on their own. And Haidt believes that overprotection has made them weaker and easily discouraged.


January 2023


December 2022


September 2022


July 2022

  • In 2020, globally, 4.3% of children died before they were 15 years old. This means that 5.9 million children die every year -16,000 children on any average day, and 11 children every minute.


June 2022

  • Many studies seem to suggest that parents are less happy than their childless friends. Possible reasons include: time demands; energy demands; sleep deprivation (potentially starting a vicious circle); work-life balance disturbances and financial burden. The contrary argument may be about something far deeper than happiness: meaning. Parents tend to report having more meaningful lives than non-parents. Indeed, very few parents regret having children.


April 2022


March 2022


February 2022

  • Child labour in the agricultural supply chain is a persistent and concerning issue affecting 45% of children in agricultural households in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana cocoa growing areas. Companies such as Nestle have responded, promising cash incentives to cocoa farmers who send their children to school to help achieve their goal of 100% fully traceable, directly sourced cocoa by 2025. These incentives will be paid to farmers directly, independently of volumes produced. To qualify, farmers must send their children to school, prune cocoa trees, plant shade trees and diversify their income with other crops. Annual cash payments of up to roughly 20-25% of a farmer's average annual income will be delivered via mobile transfer, halving after two years. The scheme will be extended to all cocoa farmers who supply Nestle by 2030.

Traditional approaches to eradicating child labour have focused on educating farmers and increasing scrutiny of farming practices. However, such an approach fails to recognise the importance of improving the material conditions of farmers. There is now consensus that tackling child labour requires a systems-based approach focused on poverty reduction as well as education.



November 2021

  • Children growing up now will experience extreme weather events at a rate two to seven times higher than their grandparents did, according to a paper published in the journal Science. The Wall Street Journal explained that if the planet continues to warm on its current trajectory, the average six-year-old will live through roughly three times as many climate disasters as their grandparents, the study finds. They will see twice as many wildfires, 1.7 times as many tropical cyclones, 3.4 times more river floods, 2.5 times more crop failures and 2.3 times as many droughts as someone born in 1960.


September 2021

  • report from UNICEF demonstrated how the climate crisis is already putting at risk billions of children – with virtually no child in the world being left untouched by the climate emergency. UNICEF ranked countries based on children’s current exposure to climate and environmental shocks, such as air pollution, water scarcity and cyclones, alongside their vulnerability to these events. The results were dire: half of the world’s children are already at extremely high risk of experiencing potentially deadly consequences of the climate crisis and the top ten countries considered to be at extremely high risk responsible for only 0.5% of total global emissions. 
  • For The School of Life, most so-called bad behaviour on the part of children isn’t that at all. It’s a desperately unhelpful, but in its way entirely understandable response to not having been heard for what they have not as yet been able clearly or diplomatically to say.
  • Nearly 3,000 children lost parents in the 9/11 attacks, the bulk of whom lost fathers (86%). While many were too young to remember their parents, many now talk about their own resilience and how they try to keep their parents' legacies alive.


August 2021

  • Chinese authorities have cut children's online gaming hours to just 1 hour a day on Fridays and weekends only, as Xi Jinping's government tried to crack down on gaming companies that have become too big too fast for the state's liking.


July 2021

  • Chinese gaming giant Tencent Games announced that it would start using its facial verification system to prevent children playing video games late into the night. Since 2019 Tencent had been using camera-enabled facial recognition to monitor children who play their games. Device cameras are auto-enabled during play, and gamers are matched against a national citizen database held by the Ministry of Public Security. Under 12s are kicked off after one hour; 13 to 18-year olds get two hours. The move followed a nationwide moral panic about video game addiction among children.


May 2021

  • When the Covid-19 pandemic removed the safety net of schooling and employee-paid child care for working families, it impacted negatively the vast majority of working parents around the world. For example, a US national panel survey of 2,500 working parents found that nearly 20% of working parents had to leave work or reduce their work hours solely due to a lack of childcare. Only 30% of all working parents had any form of back-up childcare, and there were significant disparities between low and high-income households.


April 2021

  • Psyche notes that the idea that parents could regret their children is inescapably taboo. In an era of baby worship, it’s cross-culturally ingrained and glorified that all individuals, especially women, should want to have children. The popular ideology of ‘pronatalism’ promotes the idea that becoming a parent is the ultimate source of human fulfilment. Wishing to undo or redo parenthood is therefore unspeakable, a rejection of a person’s most natural and sacred role. Yet parents sometimes do have regrets about their children. Yet regret is a common, fundamental human experience – an emotional and cognitive state characterised by counterfactual thinking about actions taken or not taken.
  • Psychology professor Alison Gopnik says children's minds are tuned to learn, while the adult mind is "designed to exploit." Gopnik suggests it would benefit us to get back to the child's mindset. For starters, children deal with a lot of new information, and traveling to a place you've never been might force you to do the same. She also suggests trying to pick up a new skill. Newness is key: "a new place, a new technique, a new relationship to the world, that’s something that seems to help to put you in this childlike state."


November 2020


October 2020

  • Save the Children warned that the pandemic will lead to the biggest rise in child marriages in a quarter of a century and is called on world leaders to act. The charity said the economic fallout of the pandemic is pushing more people into poverty, with girls being forced out of school and into work or marriage. Around 12 million girls are victims of early marriage every year, but another half a million are now estimated to be at risk. Girls in South Asia are thought to be the most vulnerable, followed by parts of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.


September 2020


August 2020

  • The School of Life warned that, far from being carefree, childhood is often a deeply difficult experience. From loneliness to bullying, from feeling overlooked at home to being overwhelmed with school, there are a host of stresses and issues that children can struggle with. To help them cope – and grow into mature, well-adjusted adults – they need to learn to understand their emotional needs and find ways of dealing with life’s inevitable challenges.


June 2020


December 2019


November 2019

  • What Can I Do When I Grow Up? is an introduction to the world of work for children. It sets out to answer some very big, fundamental questions about jobs and careers: questions that, because they look so deceptively simple, we often forget to ask. What exactly is a job? Why are there so many different ones? Why do some people get paid more than others? Why are most jobs so boring – and how can we find one we truly enjoy?


September 2019


August 2019

  • According to psychologists, children (in the US) today are more depressed than they were during the Great Depression and more anxious than they were at the height of the Cold War. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression rose by more than 60% among those ages 14 to 17, and 47 percent among those ages 12 to 13. This isn’t just a matter of increased diagnoses. The number of children and teenagers who were seen in emergency rooms with suicidal thoughts or having attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2015.


June 2019

  • The School of Life believes who we are as adults is determined by events that happened to us before our fifteenth birthday. The way we express affection, the sort of people we find appealing, our understanding of success and our approach to work are all shaped by events in childhood. We don’t have to remain prisoners of the past, but in order to liberate ourselves from our histories we must first become fully aware of them. We therefore need to learn about how character is developed, he formation of our concepts of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, the impact of parental styles of love on the way we choose adult partners and importantly, how we might evolve emotionally.
  • Around the world, children are recruited into armed groups and forced into direct combat and support roles. Despite this being a violation of international law, reports from children, NGOs and the UN suggest that recruitment is increasing. Children that manage to escape or demobilise from these armed groups will often face marginalisation from their families and communities. 


May 2019


April 2019

  • Events like the Children First Academy explore new models on how to create meaningful futures on a systemic level. Participants play a lot and allow themselves to be inspired and guided by children, figuring out  in the process how children think, play, dare to try and learn continuously has been the missing ingredients for inclusive, sustainable and conscious innovations. The event resulted in the creation of a manifesto designed by children from 20 countries inviting adults to trust, grow, create and play together.


March 2019


February 2019

  • Many parents share photos of their children on social media from the day of their birth. At some point, their offspring become aware of this “sharenting,” and often they are shocked and unhappy about it, noted The Atlantic for the Atlantic. Some children are reportedly now laying down ground rules for their parents, insisting upon veto power.
  • An Indian nonprofit showed how free childcare at work could help disrupt the poverty cycle. In India, urban construction projects lure workers and their families from remote areas. The children of those families often wander about work sites without proper schooling, nutrition, or medical care. As Quartz explained, one nonprofit helped these children by offering onsite daycare, in a template that could work in other developing countries, too.
  • Parents who attempt to manage every aspect of their kids’ schedules, academics, and extracurricular activities get a bad rap. But helicopter parenting is a rational response to rising inequality, according to the new book Love, Money, and Parenting. Parents get pushier as opportunities for jobs and college admissions grow more scarce. Conversely, in more equal societies like Sweden, parents can afford to be more chilled out, noted Quartz.


January 2019

  • No one intends for it to happen, but somewhere in our childhood, our trajectory towards emotional maturity will almost certainly be impeded, believes The School of Life. Even if we are sensitively cared for and lovingly handled, we can be counted upon not to pass through our young years without sustaining some kind of deep psychological injury
  • In 1990, some 11.75 million children around the world died before reaching their fifth birthday. In 2017, advances in the availability of medical care and the lifting of large numbers of people from poverty cut that number to just 5.39 million.  
  • It doesn’t get easier with a second child, argued Quartz, claiming that parents experience an exponential increase in stress as they have more children.
  • A study measured the effect having children has on a woman’s salary, across six countries. In Germany, after ten years, a typical mother was earning 61% less than she was before she gave birth. In America and Britain it was about 40%, and in Sweden and Denmark 27% and 21% respectively. Men’s earnings in all countries were virtually unaffected by parenthood. Cultural attitudes and public policy largely account for the difference, according to The Economist.
  • Further reading:


December 2018


October 2018

  • Technological advances have enabled child sexual abuse material to be widely shared online. The US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has seen a major increase how many child sexual abuse files they review, with 25 million in 2015, compared with 450,000 in 2004. Digital Defenders of Children is a non-governmental organisation committed to ending child sex exploitation and trafficking through innovative tools. By creating solutions based on deep-learning and AI that are able to identify the most vulnerable victims of child abuse, law enforcement can focus on the most urgent cases.
  • The latest cognitive research suggests that the decisive factor for children is learning from what parents do rather than from what they say. 
  • The World Health Organisation found that more than 90% of the world’s young people, around 1.8 billion children, are exposed to toxic air pollution today. That’s a ticking health time bomb for many countries around the world, warned GZEROMedia.


September 2018


August 2018


July 2018


June 2018

  • Chocolate is, for most of us, a guilty pleasure, noted Raconteur. Yet for thousands of children in the cocoa fields of West Africa, chocolate is a source not of pleasure but of hard, sometimes hazardous, work. The link between child labour and chocolate is a long-standing one. Reports of under-age minors being made to work in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and other cocoa-producing countries date back two decades or more. According to the 2018 Cocoa Barometer, a report by 15 European non-profit organisations, as many as 2.1 million child labourers are working in West Africa alone. 

  • The evolution of the human brain is one of the wonders of nature, but a philosopher of science Peter Godfrey-Smith asked recently what if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but twice? He wondered how the octopus - a solitary creature - became so smart and traced the story from single-celled organism 3.8 billion years ago to the development of cephalopod consciousness, casting new light on the octopus mind. In the process, he drew a contrast between the spotlight mind of adults vs. the lantern mind of children.

  • A role model is someone we admire and wish to emulate; someone after whom we want to model our lives in some way. When we choose our role models, we tend to choose people who are older than us or have more life experience. We look to people like our parents; our bosses; or people deemed successful by society’s standards, like world leaders, entrepreneurs, celebrities, or famous athletes. But who says role models have to be people we look up to? What if we could look down, literally speaking, to find some of the best examples of how to live? A recent Psychology Today article argued that children make some of the best role models.

  • The Designing for Children Guide was created by designers, psychologists, neuroscientists, healthcare specialists, educators, and children’s rights experts – during Talkoot, a 48-hour collaborative event in Helsinki in early 2018. The aim of this evolving guide is to refine a new standard for both design and businesses and direct the development towards products and services that have ethics and children’s best interests at their core.


May 2018

According to Shaping Tomorrow, key current childhood-related trends include the following:



  • A chart showing life expectancy mapped against number of children per woman for each country in the world shows that over time, most countries have moved towards the bottom right corner of the chart, corresponding to long lives and low fertility.
  • UNICEF's The State of the World’s Children 2012 found that almost half the world’s children now live in urban areas.  The report called for greater emphasis on identifying and meeting their needs.
  • There is still so much to do: in recent years, around the world, an estimated 21,000 children have died daily; the International Labour Organisation, which estimated that over 100m children worldwide worked under hazardous conditions in the agriculture sector alone, has collaborated with other organisations to eliminate child labour; many children are still not getting the education they need and the UN continues to stress the importance of international vigour in ending the use of child soldiers and sexual abuse in conflicts.