FAQs

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.

Search FAQs

Age 17 Survey Pilot: General Questions

  • Why are the physical measurements important? 
    • This provides valuable information about the growth of young people. For example, these measurements help to understand the extent your diet and lifestyle contributes to your health. Policymakers can use this information to design the most effective policies to help young people stay healthy.

      We’ve taken physical measurements from the young people in the Child of the New Century every time we’ve visited them since they were three years old. This means we can track how they’ve grown throughout their life. We’re including it in the pilot to make sure it runs smoothly alongside the other parts of the survey.

  • You left a paper questionnaire for my parents to complete, what do they do with it? 
    • Once your parent has completed the questionnaire, we would like them to seal it in the pre-paid envelope and send it back to us. If they’ve misplaced the questionnaire or the envelope they can call Ipsos MORI on Freephone 0808 202 2012 or email childnc@ipsos.com.

  • What are you asking my parents to do? 
    • We’d like your parent(s) to complete a short 15 minute interview about the family situation, answer a small number of questions on paper and do a short online questionnaire. Ideally, we’d like them to complete this while the interviewer is visiting you.

  • Why is the online questionnaire important?  
    • Completing the online questionnaire in addition to the answering the questions during the interviewer visit will help us to understand how different aspects of your lives affect your wellbeing, health and development. The information can also be compared to previous generations, to see how this might have changed over time.

      For the pilot, we’d like to see how well the online questionnaire is designed and if we’re asking the right types of questions. You can add a comment at any specific question while you go through the questionnaire.

  • What’s so special about age 17? 
    • Seventeen is a really important age. At this point you may be thinking about going on to university or what jobs you’d like in the future, and some of you will already be working or doing apprenticeships. You’re making decisions now that could shape the rest of your life, and we’d like to get an insight into who you are now and this will help us improve the survey for the main study in 2018.

  • Why are you asking me to take part? 
    • The next Child of the New Century survey is planned for 2018 when the young people will be 17 years old. Before we can start this, we would like to test the survey with some young people and their parents to see how it works and how it can be improved. We would really like your help with this.

  • Why are the number activities important? 
    • By comparing these activities to your other survey answers, we can figure out how things like your school, parents, and home life are related to how you think.

      We’ve asked the young people in Child of the New Century to complete different tasks each time we’ve visited them since they were three years old. These tasks have changed over the years, and it’s been ten years since we last asked them to do any number activity.

  • Who can complete my online questionnaire? 
    • We’d like you to complete the online questionnaire on your own. We would like you to complete it straight after the interviewer has visited you, if you can.

      Your username and password are unique to you, so make sure you don’t share these with anybody else

  • When will you visit me? 
    • The interviewer will call you and your parent(s) to arrange an appointment that works for you. Once the appointment has been booked in, you’ll be sent an appointment card with details of when the appointment is scheduled for. You can get in touch with the interviewer if you need to rearrange. We’re asking interviewers to only arrange appointments between 5th August and 1st September 2017.

      We’d like your parent(s) to be home while the interviewer visits, and they’ll be involved in some parts of the visit. If it’s not possible for them to be there, then there should be an adult over the age of 18 at home during the interview.

  • What happens to the information I give? 
    • The information you give us will be held securely and be treated in strict confidence in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Your name, contact details and any other details that may identify you will be kept completely separate from the information you give us in the survey. The information you provide will only be used to inform the design of the main survey. 

  • What measurements will you be asking for? 
    • We would like to measure your height, weight and body fat percentage. The height measurement will be taken using a stadiometer. For the weight and body fat measurements the interviewer will use a set of scales that measure body fat.

      The interviewer won’t tell you your measurements if you don’t want to know, although they can give you a record of them if you would like.

  • What are you asking me to do? 
    • We would like you to answer some questions about your life – some of these questions will be asked to you by an interviewer, and others you’ll be asked to complete on your own using the interviewer’s tablet.

      We’d also like you to complete two number activities, and have your height, weight and body fat measured. We’ll ask for your permission to add extra information to your survey answers – you can find more information about what this means in the Age 17 Dress Rehearsal: Adding other information questions.

      You don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to, and you can always skip any parts of the visit you don’t want to do.

  • How do I complete my online questionnaire?   
    • You can complete the online questionnaire using a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can decide which one you would prefer to use, although you might find it easier to complete on a computer or tablet.

      We’d recommend you complete it all in one go. It should take around 15 minutes to finish. However, if that’s not possible, you can always leave it and come back, using the same log in details. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you can submit your answers and you won’t be able to edit them again.

  • Where can my parent(s) find details of the online questionnaire? 
    • If your parent(s) agree to do the online questionnaire, the interviewer will write down their username and password onto the yellow Completing a Questionnaire Online sheet that they will give to your parent(s), or leave with you to give to your parent(s).  The sheet will contain details about how to access the questionnaire. We’d like them to complete the online questionnaire while the interviewer is visiting you, if possible.

      If they lose this sheet, they can call Ipsos MORI on Freephone 0808 202 2012 or email childnc@ipsos.com. If they provided us with an email address or mobile number, they will also receive reminders to complete the questionnaire with the link to the questionnaire and their username and password in it.

  • Who is carrying out the interviews for the Age 17 Survey Pilot? 
    • Ipsos MORI and NatCen Social Research (independent research organisations which carry out surveys with families) are carrying out the survey, on behalf of a university in London – the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London.

       

  • What are the number activities? 
    • We would like you to do two number activities that help us understand how you do tasks that involve numbers. One activity will be looking at number analogies and the other will be a number series task. The interviewer will explain exactly what we’d like you to do when they visit.The activities are expected to take around 20minutes.

      Some of you may find these kinds of activities more enjoyable than others, and some of you might find them challenging. It’s really important that everyone tasks part. You will not be given a score and you should just try your best.

  • How can I access my online questionnaire?  
    • If you agree to do the online questionnaire, your interviewer will write down your username and password onto the blue Completing a Questionnaire Online sheet that they will give you when they visit. The sheet will contain details about how to access the questionnaire.

      If you lose this sheet, you can call Ipsos MORI on Freephone 0808 202 2012 or email childnc@ipsos.com. If you provided us with an email address or mobile number, you will also receive reminders to complete the questionnaire with the link to the questionnaire and your username and password in it.

Age 17 Survey Pilot: Adding Other Information

  • What information do you want to add? 
    • The information we would like to add is kept in your health, education, work and benefits records as well as any police and criminal justice records you may have. It’s held by these government bodies:

      Health records

      National Health Service (NHS) records include

      • use of NHS health services; such as visits to the doctor, or nurse, or midwife, hospital attendance or admission and the dates and waiting times of these visits
      • health diagnoses or conditions
      • medicines, surgical procedures or other treatments received
      • NHS number

      Education records

      Education and training records are kept by the

      • Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in England
      • the Department for Education and Skills in Wales
      • the Education and LifeLong Learning September and Education Authorities Scotland, and the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council
      • the Department of Education and Education and Skills Authority Northern Ireland, and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
      • Universities and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS)
      • Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
      • Student Loans Company (SLC)

      These records include:

      • participation in school, further and higher education
      • test and exam results
      • vocational training and qualifications awarded (if any)
      • higher education applications and offers (if any)
      • destination after leaving higher education (if attended)
      • payments of student loans (if any)

      Work and benefit records

      These records are kept by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), or the Department of Social Security (DSS) in Northern Ireland. These records can include:

      • any benefits you claim
      • participation in any work programmes
      • any jobs and earnings
      • tax you may pay
      • National Insurance you may pay
      • Any pensions provided through your employer

      Police and criminal justice records

      Records held by the:

       

      • Ministry of Justice in England and Wales
      • Police Service of Scotland and Disclosure Scotland
      • Police Service of Northern Ireland

      These records can include:

       

      • Police arrests
      • Official cautions
      • Convictions or sentences

      You will have been sent information about this in the post ahead of your appointment, in the Adding other information about you booklet.

  • Can I change my mind?
    • Yes, you can change your mind about adding information from these records at any time, without giving us any reason.

  • Can my parent(s) decide on my behalf?
    • We understand that this is a decision that some young people might want to involve their parent(s) in (for example as a second pair of eyes, or to check what they are giving their permission for), so we would like you to discuss this with your parent(s). However, it is your choice and we need to know that you have read the information, and that you understand what would be involved.  

  • Why do you want to do this, when you have already asked me lots of questions? 
    • We learn a lot about your lives from the questions we ask in the surveys, but adding extra information from administrative records helps us to build a more complete picture of your life.

      By linking your survey answers to other information held about you, we avoid having to ask you about things you may not remember (for example the date of a hospital visit) and also save time by not having to ask you extra things in the questionnaire.

      1. Researchers and policy makers use this information to spot new trends and connections. This helps us to identify who is doing ok and who needs extra help, and to understand which policies and services work well and which do not.
      2. This evidence will be used to make better, more confident decisions about how to spend public money. It will help to identify and plan what services are needed for the future, encourage debate and drive change.
      3. Decisions based on evidence are more effective. This means better opportunities and services – such as training and jobs, health services or affordable housing.
      4. This makes things better and fairer for all of us, and maybe even for future generations too.
      5. Without evidence, it’s all guesswork.
  • What do you mean by “adding other information”? 
    • Government departments and agencies hold information about people which they use for routine administrative purposes and to help plan and provide the public services we need. We’d like to add some of this administrative information about your past, present and future circumstances to the details we collect about you during the study. We only do this if we have your permission.

  • Can I take part in the survey if I don’t agree to add information?
    • Yes. Whatever decision you make, we would still like you to take part in the survey.

  • How is the information used? 
    • Adding administrative information in Child of the New Century and other studies has already helped change the way we tackle bullying and support summer born children in schools and assess school performance more fairly.

      It enables us to collect new evidence about what policies and services work best and for whom will help researchers and policy makers to:

      • identify and plan services needed for the future (in the fields of education, health, employment, social welfare and criminal justice policy) and,
      • take decisions about how best to spend public money (e.g. training opportunities, health services or affordable housing).
  • How do you keep my information safe?
    • The whole process works by exchanging information using a unique ID. All information is encrypted and sent via secure transfer systems, and at no point will your name or address be connected to your matched information. All information collected by and added to CNC is treated with the strictest confidence in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

      Your name, address, National Insurance number and NHS number are never made available to researchers.

  • What if I don’t have a particular record? 
    • Not all the information we would like to add will be relevant to you right now, or, for some of you, ever. Some of you may not continue with higher or further education and most of you will not have a police record. It is still useful to add information from these records, as it means we will be able to establish if you do not continue with education or do not have a criminal record. It also means that we can establish if you return to education or change careers in the future.

  • How do you add the information? 
    • With your permission, we securely transfer your unique identifier (Unique ID), name, sex, address and date of birth to each of the government departments and agencies. In some circumstances and if they’re available, we also send your NHS number and National Insurance number

      They then use these details to identify your records, and send the CNC this information along with your unique ID. Your personal details are not included in the information file; these are destroyed and not kept with your records. The CNC team can then match your administrative records to your survey responses using your unique ID, all personal information is removed so it is completely anonymous.

      Watch this video which gives a rundown of how the process works:

  • How long will the permission last?
    • The CNC team will add information from your administrative records for the duration of the study. We will only stop doing this if you ask us to – see the FAQ below: Can I withdraw my permission? 

      We have not put an end date on the permissions that you give as we do not know exactly when we will receive or add the information.

  • Why do you need to use my name / address / date of birth / national insurance number? 
    • So that your records can be identified by the government department or agency who hold records about you, we need to use information which is unique to you. This is why we use name, in combination with your address, date of birth, and for your economic  and student loans records, your national insurance number so that it is easy to find your records.  This is all transferred securely and the government departments and agencies cannot see your survey answers.

  • Do I have to give permission to all consents?
    • No. You can agree for us to add information from all of the records we ask about, from just some of the records or to add nothing at all – it’s your choice. 

  • What is “administrative information”? 
    • This refers to information about us that is collected and stored for administrative purposes, for example about people using a health service or receiving a benefit. An example would be our health records held by the NHS, or our school records which are held by the education department within the government.

  • Can I check what I agreed to add?
    • The interviewer will give you a paper copy of permissions that you have agreed to at the end of their visit. You can also call the study team to confirm this.

  • Can I be identified once you’ve added my administrative records to my survey answers? 
    • No. We have strict controls about the way that information is added together to ensure that no one can work out who you are. Information from different administrative records will not be included in the same data file if it is possible to identify you.

  • What do you need in order to add this information? 
    • If you give us your permission to add this extra information, we’ll use your name, address and date of birth to help the government bodies and agencies find your records. If you’re happy to add your economic or student loans records, we’d also like you to tell us your National Insurance number to help identify your information.  It would be helpful if you could have your National Insurance number to hand when the interviewer visits.

      You can find this number on your national insurance number letter which is sent to you when you turn sixteen, or if you’re not sure where it is, you can also find it on your payslip, P45 or P60.

  • Can I see information from my records?
    • You have a basic right to request any information held about you by any data holding organisation at any given time. If you want to see the full information included about you by any of the data holding government departments or agencies, you need to enquire directly with the individual organisations. We would be happy to provide you contact details for doing so.

  • Will the people who hold my information see my survey answers?
    • Government departments and agencies will only receive the details they need to establish an accurate match to your records (name, sex, address, date of bith, National Insurance number and NHS number – if available); nothing more. After your records have been identified, these details will be deleted. No details that you have given us during the study will be added to your administrative records.

      Your decision about whether or not to agree to add information from your records will not affect your benefits, tax position or employment, your health treatment or any health insurance. No one (for example, the police) will be able to find out anything about you that they do not already know.

  • Who will use the information and when?
    • Matched information which includes information from both your administrative records and your survey responses will be made available via the UK Data Service for use by professional researchers, teachers and policy makers for research purposes only. The information available from the UK Data Service will not contain your name, address, national insurance number or date of birth. 

      Researchers who want to use the matched information must be registered with the UK Data Service.  To access matched information which contains more detailed information, researchers must also apply to an independent committee. Researchers will only be given permission to use the information if they present a strong scientific case for the research and explain its wider value to society.

  • Can I withdraw my permission?
    • Yes. You can change your mind about adding information from these records or withdraw any of your permissions to add information from these records at any time, without giving us any reason. Please email: childnc@ucl.ac.uk or write to: FREEPOST RTKC-KLUU-RSBH, Child of the New Century, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL.

Why am I so unique?

  • Why are the Children of the New Century so special?
    • 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.

  • Why have I been specially chosen?
    • 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.

  • Why should I take part?
    • 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.

  • How was my family initially recruited?
    • 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.

  • Who else takes part?
    • 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.

  • Do my parents have to take part?
    • 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.

  • What has CNC found out?
    • You can read about findings from Child of the New Century in the what we’ve learned section. Here are a few highlights:

      Pregnancy

      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.

      Home and family

      • Children who have a regular bedtime tend to do better at school in areas such as reading and maths than those who don’t. The same researchers found that children who go to bed at the same time every night benefit from being in a better mood and generally get on better with others.
      • Watching TV for more than three hours a day could be linked to anti-social behaviour such as stealing or fighting, although the authors emphasise that lots of other factors influence children’s behaviour too.

       

      School

      • The month in which children were born could influence which classes or sets they are in. Children born in the summer months were more likely to be placed in lower sets because they were almost a year younger than their classmates born in September.

       

      Happiness and aspirations

      • In the Age 11 Survey more than half of young people said they were ‘completely happy’ at school, while nearly 3 in 4 were ‘completely happy’ at home.
      • Overall, the most popular jobs with children in the Age 7 Survey included teacher, scientist, hairdresser, sports player, firefighter, vet, doctor, artist and builder.

Taking part

  • What if I no longer want to take part?
    • 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.

  • If I miss one of the surveys, can I re-join later?
    • 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.

       

  • How often will you come and see me?
    • 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.

  • Why do you come to see me at certain ages?
    • 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.

  • What information do you need from me?
    • 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.

  • How long will the study continue?
    • 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.

  • Should I tell other people I am in the study?
    • 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.

Keeping in touch

  • What sort of information will you send me?
    • 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.

  • How do I find out the results from 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.

  • Why do you ask me to update my contact details?
    • 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 childnc@ucl.ac.uk. Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.

  • What do I do with the form you’ve sent me?
    • 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 (childnc@ucl.ac.uk) and dispose of the form.

      If you cannot find your form, please confirm your contact details by Freephone (0800 092 1250) or by email (childnc@ucl.ac.uk). Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.

  • Can I keep in touch with CNC on social media?
    • 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.

      Facebook

      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.

      Twitter

      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.

      Contact us by email, phone or post

      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.

      Find out about keeping safe online

  • Why do you want my mobile phone number and email address?
    • 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.

How we find you

  • How do you find us if we move?
    • 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.

  • Do you use information held by government to find us?
    • 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.

  • Do you use the internet and social media to find us?
    • 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.

  • What do I do if I move?
    • 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 childnc@ucl.ac.uk. Your call and/or email will be treated in the strictest confidence.

  • What if I leave the country?
    • 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 (childnc@ucl.ac.uk), 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.

Privacy and data protection

  • How do you keep my data safe?
    • 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.

  • Who can access my data – will they see my name?
    • 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.

  • How many people have used the data?
    • 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.

  • Can I access the data?
    • 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.

  • Can I withdraw my data?
    • 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 childnc@ucl.ac.uk. Your email will be treated in the strictest confidence.

  • How long will you keep my data?
    • 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.

  • Do you add any other information to my data?
    • 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

  • What information from routine health records have you added to my data?
    • 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.

  • What if I don’t want you to link to my health records anymore?
    • 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.

  • What does the merger between IOE and UCL mean for Child of the New Century?

About social research

  • What is social research?
    • 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.

  • What is a birth cohort study?
    • 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.

  • What is survey research?
    • 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.

About the saliva sample in the age 14 survey

  • Why did you ask for a saliva sample?
    • We asked you to give a saliva sample to extract a sample of DNA for genetic research.

  • How are saliva samples useful to the study, and to society as a whole?
    • 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.

  • What is a gene/DNA?
    • 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.

  • Why are you studying DNA?
    • 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.

  • Where and how are the DNA samples kept?
    • 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.

  • Why did you collect DNA from both biological parents?
    • 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.

  • How is a biological/natural parent defined?
    • 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.

  • Will we get any results from the DNA samples?
    • 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.

  • How will my DNA be used?
    • 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.

  • Can my DNA be used by lawyers or insurance companies?
    • No. Your DNA will be used for research purposes only.

  • Can you share the DNA with someone like my doctor?
    • 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.

  • Will this DNA be used for paternity testing?
    • 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.

  • Could this DNA be used for cloning humans?
    • 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.

  • Will the information be kept confidentially?
    • 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.

  • What if I change my mind?
    • 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.

About the 'Every Tooth Tells a Story' Project

  • What is the ‘Every tooth tells a story’ project?
    • 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.

  • How many teeth did you receive as part of the ‘Every tooth tells a story’ study, and where are they now?
    • 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.

  • Why did you want to collect my milk teeth at age 7?
    • 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.

  • At what stage is the research on ‘Every tooth tells a story?’
    • 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.

  • When will we know the findings from the ‘Every tooth tells a story’ research?
    • Findings from the ‘Every tooth tells a story’ project should be out in 2016.