Children’s drawings show they’re pessimistic about future

Artwork by children aged 5 to 10 years analysed by researchers

A study into children’s art has revealed that kids become pessimistic about their future from as young as 8 years of age, reports the Telegraph.


The research, conducted by the University of Leeds, looked at artwork drawn by children aged between 5 and 10 years who entered into a competition where they were asked to draw life in the future.

The researchers found that not only were children becoming aware of the potential impact of climate change, but the differences between boys and girls were also becoming clear around age 9..

“As the children matured, their drawings became increasingly pessimistic about the future of the world,” said Angela Anning, Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Leeds.

“The trends change with age, with pessimism showing a sharp increase at the ages of 8 and 10.

“It would appear that as children grow older they become increasingly aware of the complexity of balancing the positive and negative effects of technologies,” explained Professor Angela.

Children aged 5 concentrated on everyday situations, as they couldn’t really grasp the idea of the future, while 6-year-olds started to show an understanding of the future, with drawings of robots and time machines, the researchers found.

By the age of 8, many of the drawings showed children were focused on subjects such as climate change and pollution. At 9, the first clear divide between boys and girls, as boys were more likely to draw scenes from conflicts and global disasters while girls were more likely to draw scenarios in the home.


“Using drawing to extricate this information gave children the freedom to express their thoughts in a way they may not have been able to do verbally,” said Professor Angela.

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