A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED
Lonely children create pretend pals as they lack real friends
A NUMBER of children grow up lonely and with no one to confide in, with this isolation pushing a quarter of them to create imaginary friends during their childhood. This has come to light following research released today to mark the launch of The Golden Compass video game.
These make-believe mates are conjured up as children lack real-life playmates with 28% saying they served as a real friend or sibling replacement. More than half of the 2,000 questioned said their imaginary friend was an outlet to tell secrets to, and one in five saw them as someone to go to school with, hinting that young children sometimes turn to their imagination for security and a sense of belonging.
This insight is timely as the nation is set to go fantasy mad with the release of The Golden Compass video game. The Golden Compass is the first instalment of the acclaimed ‘His Dark Materials’ book trilogy that follows the adventures of Lyra, a young girl who, like all humans in the make-believe world, is accompanied by a creature that protects and helps her – much like our own imaginary friends.
Child psychologist and founder of the influential parenting website ‘RaisingKids’, Pat Spungin says, “Having an imaginary friend can be very beneficial and enhance a child’s development, and it is encouraging to see that 70% of adults support their children creating imaginary friends. While imaginary friends are a good practice ground for young people to test boundaries and social skills it is still important for them to learn how to integrate and play alongside their peers.”