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Study Reveals Children Struggle with Deep Unhappiness

A new study published in the UK reveals that children are struggling with low self-esteem, loneliness, or deep levels of unhappiness. A free, private counseling hotline for children and teens up to the age of 19, said it was contacted 35,244 times in the last year by children struggling with how to be happy. In the organization's 30-year history, general unhappiness is only a recent trend. Previously, self-harm and eating disorders were among the most common causes for children to contact the helpline. But today, unhappiness is strongly connected with the drive to keep up one's image on social media. One expert noted, "It is clear that the pressure to keep up with friends and have the perfect life online is adding to the sadness that many young people feel on a daily basis."

In 2015, there were 20 major sites that catered exclusively for people sharing content with each other. This had led to a spike in what psychologists call social comparison, or estimating how worthwhile we are based on how we think we stack up against other people's online profile.

For example, the magazine Elle explored a trend of young school girls creating private "real" accounts of themselves as a way of expressing their true identity separately from the one they portray online. In a recent survey conducted by the Girl Scouts, nearly 74 percent of girls agreed that other girls tried to make themselves look "cooler than they are" on social networking sites.

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