A new survey from Life Education NSW has revealed that when it comes to health and safety, parents believe kids have it tougher now than they ever did.

A survey of more than 1000 Australian parents and found that the majority of parents believe obesity, bullying, resilience, online safety, illegal drugs and misuse of medicines are more of a concern for kids now compared to when they were growing up.

Some issues remained the same throughout the generations. Around half of parents surveyed thought alcohol misuse (47.4%), smoking (44.5%), and road safety (52.4%) were of a similar concern.

Parents were also asked to rank their top issues for preschool-aged (3-6), lower primary (7-9), upper primary (10-13) and secondary school students (14-17).

Key findings include:

  • Overall, online safety and bullying are parents’ top concerns, with 80% of parents ranking these issues as ‘very important’
  • Road safety was the top concern for preschool-aged kids (75.7% parents ranked it as ‘very important’)
  • Online safety (87.1% ‘very important) and illegal drugs (85.9% ‘very important’) topped the list for the 14-17 year age group
  • Parents in regional Australia were, in general, less concerned about these issues then their city counterparts, with the exception being bullying (89% of regional parents ranked bullying ‘very important’, compared to 85% for metro parents).

kids today

The majority of parents agree that schools and families were struggling to deal with these issues.

More than 80% said there was a need for more health and safety education, and almost 80% (78.9%) agree that teachers needed support to help deliver this education in schools.

Almost half of parents surveyed (46.8%) said they need additional support in the home.

Life Education’s Kellie Sloane said children today are growing up in an increasingly complex online world, and were facing different challenges compared to their parents.

“Although we are seeing some promising trends including a decrease in smoking and alcohol consumption rates among young people; obesity, bullying and online safety are growing concerns,” Ms Sloane said.

“Things have changed since we were kids: in an online world, bullying can follow kids from the playground to the home.”

Do you agree? What is your biggest concern for kids today?

Share your comments below

  • I think the younger generation do have a tougher time growing up these days. There’s online issues, drug issues, obesity issues. Things I never had to deal with. It’s also a lot harder to save and buy a house these days.


  • It comes down to individual circumstances, the child, the parents, the support network they may or may not have, where they live etc. There are so many variables.


  • Online safety is concerning to me. It has opened so many doorways to harassment and bullying. Mental health and teens is a concern too.


  • Things were simpler back then, we could go for walks and be home for the street lights coming on, we could go to the pool for the day unsupervised, now we can’t let the kids do that at all, very different times now


  • There are more thingsto be wary of today. School bullying is a big issue my daughter is kind and sensitive which makes her a target


  • I think there has always been a risk of your kids ending up in the wrong situations & growing up too fast, but these days it is truely so hard to keep them sheltered & away from negative influences & situations. The age of the internet has a lot to answer for…


  • I agree, they certainly don’t get the childhood we had as kids


  • I agree. Expectations are a lot higher now than when I was growing up.


  • Yes life is more complex and less carefree.


  • I have noticed the differences between my older children and the younger ones. There is a 30 year difference between oldest and youngest. From what I see I wish life was as simple as my childhood of the 70’s or my older children late 80’s-90’s. I fear for the future of my six year old twins and what kind of world they will live .


  • I don’t agree. I feel the helicopter parents are making harder for children. My youngsters knew where there limitations were, and didn’t over step them. Modern day parents don’t let their children explore, ride bikes on their own, play on activities because they night hurt themselves. What did you do when you were growing up? Can’t you let your children explore and do the same thing.


  • Have to agree, much harder these days with more to worry about


  • Unfortunately there are some parents who make life harder for young children too. I know one family that the parents expected one of their children to hang out his own washing – he couldn’t reach the line so he was using a reasonably short step ladder. They have a deep tub almost new washing machine with an old style agitator. Parts of clothing can get stuck under it. The same child fell head first into it trying to get washing out of it. One of them videoed it before they rescued him. I know they have to put their clean clothes away which is good. Once during hot weather he forgot to refill his school drink bottle. One of his parents filled his bottle with water from the tap. He could have been given cold water out of the fridge. He was only 5 – 6 years old when all of this happened. No wonder he is often tired and highly strung. The 11 y.o. has to clean the bathroom and toilet the 3 kids use. They are making them grow up too quickly.


  • I totally agree with this because the internet and social media can make it so easy for kids to bully while at home. There also seems to be alot more bullying then there was when I was growing up. Life seemed much simpler to kids back then than it does now


  • Agree 100%


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