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The UK charity, The Children’s Society has opened ‘The Store of Modern Childhood’ to draw attention to the harsh realities facing the youth of Britain.

The installation was commissioned by the charity to highlight the findings of its Good Childhood Report 2019. It features a shop where the shelves display an array of ‘products’ that represent the challenges that many young people face daily, including poverty, knife crime, bullying and sexual exploitation.

The ‘products’ themselves include stab vests, exercise books filled with messages of self-hate, a makeup station complete with ‘bruise hider,’ ‘anxiety concealer’ and ‘black eye fader, as well as phone cases that feature messages of bullying.

The tech department includes Grooma_, a mock social networking app for children that boasts a free, private environment for chat, image and video sharing with a search feature based on the age, interest and geographical location of the children.

However, the store also offers a vision of a potential future with The Gallery of Optimism. Transitioning through a changing room, guests can explore a space filled with light, colour and messages of positivity. Within the gallery guests can view photography, art, poetry and music that combine to make a happy place that represents the hope, resilience and joy of childhood as it should be.

The Children’s Society hopes that The Gallery of Optimism might help to inspire a brighter, better future for children across the UK.

Peter Grigg, the director of external affairs at The Children’s Society commented: “Our research confirms increasing unhappiness in children and young people across the UK. Through the Store of Modern Childhood, the shocking lived reality for too many children is brought to public attention so we can set about changing this.

“The Children’s Society works to improve the lives of children and young people across the UK – whether that is providing support to those who need it, working with families and communities, or influencing government, our aim is to help all children have a happy childhood.”

The Store of Modern Childhood was created by W and XYZ and is open to the public from 28 August to 29 August at Carousel Spaces in London.

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