A UK study has revealed astonishing details highlighting the prevalence of racist and anti-immigrant views among school children.
A third of school children aged between 10 to 16 were found to believe Muslims are "taking over our country" and an estimated 60% of children felt "asylum seekers and immigrants are stealing our jobs".
The observation surfaced after questionnaires were filled by nearly 6,000 children across 60 schools in the UK by the Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) charity between 2012 and 2014.
"We have found that there is a large amount of negativity when young people are asked questions about immigration or Muslims," SRtRC chief executive Ged Grebby told The Guardian.
Grebby stressed that effort needs to be invested in altering the perceptions of young people that have largely been shaped by media.
"This survey shows that this is fuelled by a totally distorted view of the number of immigrants and Muslims living in the UK," said Grebby.
Unless young people are encouraged to believe that they hold a positive future, there could be major social implications.
"There is clearly a gap between the reality and perception on issues like the number of immigrants or the size of the UK's Muslim community among some young people," said Dr. Paul Jackson from the University of Northampton who was involved in the SRtRC study.
"The subsequent levels of hostility towards these groups is very worrying and is something that we, as a society, need to take seriously."