Social anxiety disorder is described as fear and anxiety in social situations, extreme shyness, timidity and concerns about being negatively judged by others. Social anxiety disorder affects up to 5 percent of children, and is the third most common psychiatric disorder in childhood.

Situations that trigger anxiety and are often difficult for children with social anxiety disorder are speaking in front of the class, talking with unfamiliar children, performing in front of others, starting conversations, taking tests and interacting with strangers.

Children with social anxiety are often lonely, have fewer friends than other children their age, and report symptoms of depression.

Children who develop social anxiety before the age of 12 are not likely to outgrow the disorder. Left untreated, many children with social anxiety disorder grow up to be socially anxious adults, and they may continue to have problems in interpersonal situations.