Got questions about the study? Check out the FAQ’s below. If you can’t find what you are looking for, contact us. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.
Researchers predict that your generation is going to be much different from your parents and grandparents before you.
The world is changing quickly. Your generation is growing up in a time of big challenges, like climate change and international security. There are also new opportunities like globalisation, increasing cultural diversity and new technology. You’ve never known a time without computers, the internet or smart phones, and you can access information on almost any topic at the touch of a button. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter mean that your experiences can be instantly shared and friends can be people you’ve never met. In 1999, the government decided it would be really important to understand as much as they could about this special generation. They asked a group of researchers to set up a new study that would follow the lives of the children of the 21st century. The very next year, Child of the New Century began.
To learn more about why the study was started, visit the ‘History of the study’ page.
You are one of 19,000 young people selected from 400 different areas of the UK to represent your generation. Each one of you was chosen because you’re unique, and together you represent the diversity of the children of the new century.
As you grow and change, so do the things that make you special. It may be where you live, how you’re doing at school, your family or your hobbies. We need to make sure that as many of you as possible keep taking part well into the future so that all the different types of voices of your generation can be heard.
By taking part in Child of the New Century, you’re helping to make life better for young people your age, as well as for future generations.
Politicians, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and others use findings from the study to improve services and policies to help young people.
It’s your story and only you can tell it. We’ve been following you since you were 9 months old and we really want to keep hearing from you as you grow up.
You’re unique and the picture isn’t complete without you. If you choose not to take part, we can’t replace you with anyone else.
It’s important that we understand what life is like for all different kinds of young people – from different parts of the country, different family backgrounds, different ethnicities, etc. That’s why we need as many of you as possible to keep taking part – each and every one of you brings something new to the story.
Your family was recruited because of where you were living and when you were born. Nearly 400 areas were randomly selected for the study from across the whole of the UK. In those areas, we aimed to contact the families of all the babies born between 1st September 2000 and 31st August 2001 in England and Wales, and between 24th November 2000 and 11th January 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
At that time, virtually all families in the UK received Child Benefit. The government department administering Child Benefit – called the Department for Work and Pensions – had the names and addresses of some 27,000 families with a baby born between those dates and living in those areas. The Department for Work and Pensions wrote to all of these families inviting them to take part and giving them a chance to opt out.
Around 24,000 of these families were then approached by an interviewer when their baby was around 9 months old, and 18,552 families were successfully interviewed at the first survey.
Another 692 families, who were missed initially, were added to the study at age 3. They were recruited in the same way and lived in the same areas.
19,000 young people from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have taken part in the study.
In many cases, parents, teachers and even brothers and sisters have also taken part.
In the future, we may also want to talk to the people who may be important to you as an adult, such as your partner or children, if you have them.
We know that parents are an important part of your life, so as you’re growing up, we ask your mum, dad or the person who takes care of you to take part as well. We are only able to interview parents who live with you. You can still take part, even if your parents don’t want to.
When you’re an adult, we may ask other important people in your life to take part, such as your partner or children (if you have them). But it will be up to them whether or not they want to.
You can read about findings from Child of the New Century in the what we’ve learned section. Here are a few highlights:
Children whose mothers drank heavily while they were pregnant were more likely to have behaviour problems at age 3 than those whose mothers didn’t drink or drank lightly.
Having only one or two alcoholic drinks a week during pregnancy is not related to children’s behaviour or abilities at later ages.
Your unique contribution is incredibly valuable so we really hope that you will continue taking part. However, the study is voluntary so if you no longer wish to take part, either in the next survey or in any future surveys, please let us know.
If you are unsure whether to continue to take part or not, please do not hesitate to contact us to talk about your concerns. We are always happy to talk to you – without you the study is not possible. If you choose not to take part, we can’t replace you with anyone else.
Your unique contribution is incredibly valuable so we do hope that you will take part. We’d like everyone to take part each time we visit. This is because the information you give us at each survey is even more valuable when we are able to link up the surveys up over time.
But it’s up to you to decide whether or not to take part each time. If you miss a survey, you can still do the next one. Even if you haven’t taken part for a while, you are welcome to re-join the study at any time.
If you are unsure whether to continue to take part or not, please do not hesitate to contact us to talk about your concerns. We are always happy to talk to you – as you are a really valued participant. If you choose not to take part, we can’t replace you with anyone else.
We hope to visit you at key points in your life as you grow up. We choose to visit you at different ages, which are interesting and important for particular reasons. This means that the gap between surveys is not always the same. We visit you more often when you’re growing up because you change faster during these years.
The most recent survey took place when you are age 14, in 2015. We will come back to visit you again when you are 17, in 2018. The study will continue throughout your adult life. It hasn’t been decided yet when all of the future surveys will be. But it is likely they will be every 3-5 years.
It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part in each survey. We will send you information before each survey to let you know what it will involve. If you move between surveys, it would be very helpful if you could contact us with your new address.
We’re interested in following your life story. We want to see how your life changes over time, and what your life is like at certain ages. We choose key points in your life to visit you, which are interesting and important for particular reasons.
Child of the New Century is like a photo album not only of your life, but of all the other participants too. That’s what makes it so interesting, and this is why you are so important, as you cannot be replaced.
The more information that the study gathers about your life over time, the more valuable it becomes. This is why we so value your unique and continued contribution.
If you move or if your contact details change, please let us know as soon as you can. This means we can make sure you get information about the study and that we can contact you to invite you to take part in each survey.
During each survey, we will ask you for information about lots of different aspects of your life. We may also want to talk to your parents, or other people in your life. We’ll write to you before each survey to tell you all about what is involved.
We hope that the study will continue throughout your life. Other similar studies, which started in 1946, 1970 and 1958, are still going on today. The next survey will be at age 17 (in 2018). After that, they are likely to be every 3-5 years.
It’s fine to tell your family, friends and teachers that you are in the study. We advise study members not to make this public, for example on social media, as this could risk compromising your anonymity.
We will write to you regularly with updates about the study, to make sure you know what is coming up, what we’ve learned and how the study has made a difference.
Before each survey, we’ll write to you to tell you everything you need to know about what is involved. You might want to know when the survey is taking place, or how long it will take. We’ll always try to answer any questions you have. After each survey, we’ll write to thank you for taking part.
Between surveys, we will send you results from the study telling you what we have found out. It can take a while to put together all of the information you give us, so it is usually a few years after each survey before we can send you the results.
You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with the study.
We will write to you regularly with results from the study, telling you what we’ve found out about your generation. It can take a while to put together all of the information you give us, so it is usually a few years after each survey before we can send you the results.
To find out more about the results so far, visit the ‘What have we learned?’ page.
The information from the study is being used all the time by researchers around the world, so new findings are always emerging. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with the latest results.
We want to make sure that we have the right contact details so that we can keep in touch with you. You’re such a valuable part of the study and we really value your input. We want to make sure we can keep you up to date with the study and contact you to invite you to take part in each survey.
Updating your contact details is simple to do. All you have do is either call us via the Freephone telephone number (0800 092 1250), or email us at email@example.com. Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You simply fill out the form that we sent you with any new information such as address changes, new phone and email addresses, or changes to a contact person’s details, and return it to us in the prepaid envelope. Where there are no changes to your details we would like you to send us back the form anyway to indicate that we have the correct information on your record. If you prefer you can update us with your new details by Freephone (0800 092 1250), or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and dispose of the form.
If you cannot find your form, please confirm your contact details by Freephone (0800 092 1250) or by email (email@example.com). Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Child of the New Century is on Facebook and Twitter so it’s easy for you and your parents to stay up to date with the study.
You can keep up to date with Child of the New Century by liking our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/childofthenewcentury.
Only your Facebook friends will be able to see that you’ve liked our page, and we’ve disabled the comment function to protect your identity from others.
Child of the New Century is also on Twitter. You can follow us at @childnewcentury.
Other people will be able to see your Twitter name listed under our followers. If you reply to one of our tweets, only the people who follow you will be able to see it.
If you have a question or comment about the study, we recommend you contact us by email, phone or post and not through Facebook or Twitter. Find out how to reach us on the contact us page.
We are asking you to give us your mobile phone number and email address so we can keep in contact with you about the study. We will not give your contact details to anybody else, and we will not contact you about anything other than Child of the New Century. You can let us know what your contact details are by using the online form. Please discuss this with your parents before filling in the form yourself.
We need to keep in touch with as many of you as possible to make sure Child of the New Century continues to represent the diversity of your generation. So, if we find out that you’ve moved, we will try to find out your new address.
We first try to contact families through the direct links you and your parents have given us, such as phone numbers, email addresses and your postal address.
If that doesn’t work, then we will try to contact any family members or friends whose details you have given us. If we still haven’t found you, we will check the electoral register and the telephone book, both of which are public records and available electronically. We may also try to find you using internet searches, by looking on social media sites and by using information held by government department and agencies.
All of this tracing is usually done before the interviewers have gone out to interview families so that we can provide them with your current address. However, if we have not been able to locate you, or if the interviewer finds out your family has moved, then they will also try to find out where you’ve moved to. As well as trying to make contact by phone and in person, the interviewer may also call at your old address to speak to the new residents and call on neighbours. When we are looking for you, we won’t reveal to other people, apart from your family and friends, that you are part of Child of the New Century.
From time to time we try to trace study members using information held by government departments and agencies. So far, we have tried to trace study members using Child Benefit records held by the Department for Work and Pensions, the National Pupil Database held by the Department for Education (England only), and the NHS (via the NHS Central Register for England and Wales and via Health Authorities and GPs in Scotland and Northern Ireland). We may use other government databases in the future.
The National Pupil Database contains the addresses of all state school pupils in England, which are collected through schools. The NHS Central Register is a database of GP registrations and is held by NHS Digital. We would also find out if you died or moved out of the country from this register.
Whenever we do this, we securely transfer the personal details (name, sex, date of birth and last known address) of study members to the government department or agency. They use these details to identify our study members and then send us their up-to-date addresses. They do not retain the personal details sent to them.
This kind of personal information is not given out routinely by government departments and agencies. Special permissions are needed, and this is only done after a careful review of why this information is needed, ethical issues and data security procedures. For the information coming from the NHS, special approval under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 from the NHS Confidentiality Advisory Group and NHS Digital Data Access Advisory Group is needed.
Sometimes we try to find study members using the internet and social media. This may involve carrying out internet searches, for example using Google, and searching on Facebook and other social media sites. While you are under 16, we will only look for your parents in this way. We also know that it can be difficult to identify people accurately on the internet and social media. So, whenever we are searching in this way, we will not reveal the name of the study in case the person we contact isn’t one of our study members.
It would be very helpful (as well as saving us time!) if you could contact us to let us know where you have moved to. This is simple to do. All you have do is either call us via the Freephone telephone number (0800 092 1250), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.
If you are living outside the UK during our interview period then sadly we will have to leave you out of that particular survey. However, please still let us know your address so that we can keep in touch and send you letters and updates.
Please let us know by Freephone (0800 092 1250), or by email (email@example.com), if you are moving out of the country. Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You can however re-join the study and be included in the next round of interviews if and when you return to the UK.
Very occasionally we attempt to contact Child of the New Century participants who are living abroad to request that they fill out a paper questionnaire instead of a face-to-face interview.
In the future it is possible that we may be able to include study members living abroad using the web or telephone interviews.
We go to great lengths to maintain your privacy. We respect that you have voluntarily given information to us on the basis that we protect your rights. We keep any information which could identify you in a secure location.
At the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, the study data is managed by two different teams, all of whom have signed strict confidentiality contracts and can only access this information for limited purposes. One team deals with your personal contact information to make sure we are able to stay in touch with you. The other manages all the other information you provide in the survey. Neither team has access to both.
The organisations which carry out the surveys are also contractually bound by very strict confidentiality and data security agreements.
When the data are released to researchers they are fully anonymised. This means that any personal details, such as names, dates of birth and addresses, are removed. No-one using the data will know who the information has come from, or who is in the study.
When the data are released to researchers it is fully anonymised. This means that any personal details, such as names, dates of birth and addresses, are removed. No-one using the data will know who the information has come from, or who is in the study.
Researchers using the data also need to sign a special confidentiality contract which states that they will only use it for research and not for any other purpose.
There are about 400 researchers a year who analyse the data from Child of the New Century. Anyone using the data needs to sign a special confidentiality contract which states that they will only use it for research.
Yes. Under data protection legislation you can obtain a copy of the information you gave to the surveys.
If you register and sign the special confidentiality contract you can download the study data from UK Data Service. However, unless you are a professional researcher the data may be difficult to understand as they are in a complex format. And you won’t be able to identify yourself as the data are anonymised.
Yes. Under data protection legislation you can ask us to withdraw your data. We will remove your information from our computer systems and stop providing it to researchers. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will be treated in the strictest confidence.
The purpose of the Child of the New Century study is to understand the whole picture – of your lives individually, and of your generation as a whole. The aim is to follow your whole life’s journey. For this reason, we have not set a time limit for how long we will keep your data. This applies to both data collected in the surveys and any data linked in to your survey data. It is very important for us to keep your data safe.
Government departments and agencies hold information about people which they use for routine administrative purposes. From time to time, we add information from these routine administrative records to the study data. We only do this if we have permission from the people whose data are being linked.
At previous surveys, your parents may have given permission to add your school and/or health records, and those of your brothers and sisters, to the survey data. For people under 16, parental permission is needed. They may have also given permission for their own health and economic records to be added.
Whenever we do this, we securely transfer the personal details (name, sex, date of birth and address) of the person to the government department or agency. They use these details to identify the person and then send us the information from their records. They do not retain the personal details sent to them. We add the information from these records to the information collected in the study, and make it available to researchers. All personal information is removed before we do this.
The permissions given at previous surveys can be withdrawn at any time. Parents need to do this for anyone under 16. This can be done by writing to: Freepost RTKC-KLUU-RSBH, Child of the New Century, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL.
We also add information which is not about you individually, but is about, for example, the school you go to or the area you live in. Any information like this provided to researchers is fully anonymised and cannot be used to identify who is in the study.
Watch our video to find out more about adding other information
Back at the Age 7 Survey, we asked your parent or guardian’s permission to add information held by the National Health Service (NHS) about your health, such as visits to the doctor or hospital, to the information you have given us as part of the study.
We are now starting to get some information from your health records. This information is anonymised, so that nobody can identify you or your family from this information, or from the information you have given us as part of the study. These records, combined with information you’ve give us during the surveys, will allow researchers to look in greater detail at what affects the health of children of the new century, and how policy makers might improve things for you and younger generations.
In the leaflet about ‘information from other sources’ from the Age 7 Survey we said we would like to get information from ‘routine medical and other health related records’. To get these records we securely send personal data to the where your health records are kept, so the right ones can be matched to you. Specifically, we send your surname, forename, sex, date of birth and address only. No other information about you, or any of your answers to the surveys, is sent. For those of you in England, NHS Digital hold all hospital admissions and outcomes data from the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) dataset and will link this information to individual study members. The information provided by NHS Digital may also include civil registration data from the Office for National Statistics. For those of you in Scotland and Wales your medical records are held by NHS Scotland and NHS Wales, respectively.
Once the linking of information has been carried out, all health information will be held separately from names and other identifiers so no one using the information for research can link it back to you.
You can change your mind about allowing us to link to your records without having to give a reason. This will not affect the medical care you receive. Parents need to do this for anyone under 16. You need to let us know by writing to: Freepost RTKC-KLUU-RSBH, Child of the New Century, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL.
Child of the New Century is run by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education (IOE). Following a final decision by the IOE Council on 25 November 2014, UCL and the IOE merged on 2 December 2014. The IOE will join UCL as a single Faculty School, known as the UCL Institute of Education. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies will continue its work as usual following the merger, and will stay in its current form within the new UCL Institute of Education.
Keeping your personal information safe is a top priority. From 2 December 2014, the same team of people at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies will be managing your personal information. The reasons why we collect your data will not change as a result of the merger, and the measures we put in place to ensure that this information is held securely will not be affected.
However, it will now be UCL that will ultimately be responsible for ensuring that all personal information is processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998) and the UCL Data Protection Policy (which you can read on the UCL website). UCL is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, and you can find more detail about what this means for UCL on the Information Commissioner’s Office website.
If you have any concerns or questions about any personal information we may hold on you, or how personal information will be collected or used following the merger, contact us on email@example.com or UCL’s data protection team, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social research is research conducted by social scientists, such as anthropologists, economists, psychologists and sociologists. It aims to understand human behaviour, mental processes, and how people interact in society. Researchers apply different statistical methods to data in order to do this. The objective of their research is to understand how and why people fare differently in life, and therefore how policies can be designed to help improve the lives of some.
A birth cohort study is one that follows a group of people that were born at a similar date or period of time – be it a day, month, year or decade, for instance. It follows these people throughout their lives, and collects data from them at particular ages. By following the same people over time, these studies are able to show how and why people change as they get older. Child of the New Century is a birth cohort study following people born at the turn of the new millennium.
Survey research involves collecting information from a sample of individuals through their answers to questions. Surveys are used in lots of parts of our society, for example by retail companies to understand shoppers’ preferences, in polls to reveal people’s voting intentions, and in studies such as CNC! They are carried out in different ways – including face-to-face, over the telephone, or on the internet.
We asked you to give a saliva sample to extract a sample of DNA for genetic research.
Researchers can use DNA samples to look at whether parents and their children have certain types of genes. Studying the relative importance of genes and other factors helps researchers to understand differences in young people’s development, health, behaviour, growth and learning. For instance, recent research has identified genes associated with common allergies including pollen, dust-mite and cat allergies. It is believed that allergies are very often passed from one generation to the next. Understanding the genetic factors underlying allergies may be key to understanding who might be most likely to suffer from allergies and how this very common condition might best be treated.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic material in every cell of the body including blood, saliva, skin and hair. Everyone has DNA. We inherit our DNA from our parents. A gene is a section of DNA that contains the information our bodies need to make chemicals called proteins. In this way, they tell your cells how to function and what characteristics to express, and thus influence what we look like on the outside and how we work on the inside. For example, one gene contains the code to make a protein called insulin, which plays an important role in helping your body control the amount of sugar in your blood.
We are studying DNA in order to look at the way genes (nature) and lifestyle (nurture) are related to feelings, behaviour, health, and development. It will help us to understand how nature and nurture work together. Although we all have very similar genes, there are many small variations. These different versions of our genes can make us more or less likely to develop many common diseases, such as allergies (asthma, for example), diabetes or heart disease. These differences can also affect our personality and behaviour.
Samples will be stored in a laboratory at the University of Bristol which is licensed by the Human Tissue Authority. Access to laboratory and sample areas is restricted to authorised personnel. Samples are stored in freezers covered by a 24 hour alarm system in case of freezer breakdown. Names and addresses are not attached to samples.
We want to learn more about the influence of parents’ DNA on their children. An important aim of Child of the New Century is to look at children’s genes and their environment to see how they interact to affect health and development. Each child’s genes come from both their mother and father, so the value of the genetic information is increased greatly if we are able to look at both parents (if both are living in the household). Genes can have different effects depending on whether they come from the mother or father. DNA from parents will let us explore these differences. This is why – when looking at complex conditions such as asthma, obesity or diabetes – we need to look at DNA from parents as well as children.
Biological parents are those who have conceived with their own egg (mother) or sperm (father), and therefore whose genes have been transmitted to the child.
No, we will not provide you with routine feedback of the results of genetic testing. Tests done on your DNA are not the same as clinical genetic tests and cannot be used for diagnosis. If, however, throughout the course of the research we find something that we think could indicate a preventable medical issue, we would contact you and advise you to consult with a medical professional.
Your DNA will be used for research purposes only. It could be used by researchers who work in the commercial sector (e.g. a private company). Organisations which want to use the DNA samples to look at particular genes will have to apply for permission to an independent committee which oversees access to the samples. Researchers only get permission to use the samples if they put forward a strong scientific case and explain the potential impact of the research and its wider value to society.
No. Your DNA will be used for research purposes only.
No, that is not possible. We use a research laboratory and not a clinical or medical laboratory. Your DNA will only be used for research relating to Child of the New Century.
Child of the New Century will not use your DNA for paternity testing. Whilst it would be possible during quality checking to compare genes within a family and in this way confirm paternity, this comparison will not be carried out by laboratory researchers.
Child of the New Century will not use your DNA for cloning humans. The use of human tissue, DNA and cell lines is strictly controlled. The charities and government organisations which fund this research, the Institute of Education, and the Child of the New Century Ethics Committee, do not allow human cloning.
All of the information in the Child of the New Century study is kept separate from participant names so no one can link it back to individuals. This personal information is completely confidential.
When you turn 16 (or earlier if you can demonstrate that you are old enough to understand), you can withdraw permission for storage and use of your DNA. Upon withdrawal of consent, CLS will instruct the laboratory to destroy all stocks of the samples.
Parents have the right to withdraw consent for the storage and use of their own DNA, without giving any reason. Parents can also withdraw consent on behalf of their child until they are aged 16.
You can withdraw your permission by writing to us at Freepost RTKC-KLUU-RSBH, Child of the New Century, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL.
Around the age 7 sweep (2008), you were asked to participate in an ‘Every tooth tells a story’ project to look at levels of lead in the environment. The study was being carried out by the Institute of Child Health, part of University College London.
Over 3,000 of you sent your teeth for the study. Many of you sent more than one tooth and the study has now received over 4,000 teeth from you. This makes it an exceptionally successful collection of shed milk teeth in the UK and provides an amazing resource for research.
The teeth are being stored at the Institute of Child Health, University College London. They are stored securely and in serial number order in plastic zip wallets. They have been removed of any personal information so they cannot be linked to you.
Lead is a hazardous chemical in the environment which can affect children’s learning, development and behaviour. The government reduced the amount of lead in the environment by removing lead from petrol in the 1980s and taking steps to reduce lead in water in the 1990s. This means that environmental lead levels have fallen.
However, little remains known about lead exposure in young children. Lead is incorporated and stored in calcifying tissues such as bone and teeth. Recent scientific advances make it possible to assess lead levels from milk teeth.
By testing the teeth of children living in different parts of the country, we will find out if there are differences in the amount of tooth lead across the country, and also whether children are exposed to lead before and after birth. This information will tell us how well children are being protected through different government measures to control lead. It will also allow us to look at whether tooth lead levels affect children’s later development.
To find out more about lead and its health effects, visit the Health Protection website.
Researchers at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, have recently arranged for the first tests on a small number of your milk teeth to take place in a specialist laboratory in Australia. This will give us some important information about the amount of lead that today’s children are exposed to before and after birth. As these tests are relatively new, only a small number of teeth are being tested at first but more testing is planned if this is successful.
We will tell you more about what the study finds as the research develops.
Findings from the ‘Every tooth tells a story’ project should be out in 2016.