While many children today are more likely to enter into a relationship at a young age, they are not mature enough to deal with problems in a relationship, a survey by the Children’s Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) found, as the group called on parents to show more concern about their children’s romances.
According to a survey conducted by the foundation on fifth to eight graders, 27 percent of the respondents said they have had a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and 72 percent said they had been asked out, CWLF researcher Chuang Yi-hsin (莊憶欣) told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
“Taking a further look, we found more than 50 percent of those respondents who had boyfriends or girlfriends dated their classmates, but 10 percent said their boyfriends or girlfriends were people they met on the Internet,” Chuang said. “However, relationships usually come and go quickly for the children, as 23 percent [of those who had had relationships] said they broke up with their boyfriends or girlfriends within three months, and only 10 percent were able to keep the relationship going for more than a year.”
While having a relationship is normal, Chuang said that it was worrisome that many children in relationships do not know to protect themselves, because “they are willing to do anything for the ones they love.”
“We found that as many as 37 percent of the children would go out with people of the opposite sex alone, and more than 10 percent said they have no problem with touching each other’s bodies or having sex with their partners, while as many as 30 percent said they would do anything for the ones they love,” Chuang said. “This is actually quite shocking.”
Equally worrisome is how children handle breakups.
“Many of the respondents said they would respond to a break up through violent means, such as slapping their partners, finding someone to kill their partners or — if there’s a third person in the relationship — they would find someone to beat up the third person,” Chuang said.
Chiu Ching-hui (邱靖惠), another member of the CWLF’s research and development department, said there could be both mental and physical problems for children when they get into a relationship without being fully prepared.
“We don’t recommend that parents prohibit their children from dating. Rather, parents should serve as a guide, a teacher and a listener for their children in a relationship,” she said.