Tue, Apr 05, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Academic stress No. 1 concern for kids: poll

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A survey by the Child Welfare League Foundation showed that academic success topped both children’s wishes and worries, with 81.4 percent feeling stressed.

According to the survey conducted to coincide with Children’s Day yesterday, the top five wishes of children are: academic improvement, good physical health, making good friends, parental accompaniment and having leisure time.

Compared with a survey conducted in 2001, two wishes — “a peaceful society” and “having enough allowance” — were replaced by “good physical health” and “parental accompaniment” in the top five wishes, while the other three remain the same.

Children identified academic stress, making friends, personal appearance, family’s economic status and illness (self or family member) as the top five concerns.

The top five concerns were largely the same as those from a 1999 survey, except for one, with “inability to communicate with adults” being replaced by “illness,” the foundation said.

In this year’s survey, 81.4 percent of children said academic pressure was something they often worry about, an increase of 6.3 percentage points from 75.1 percent in 1999.

Foundation chief executive Chen Li-ju (陳麗如) said that although the government advocates education reforms to reduce academic stress, the survey shows that stress levels have increased.

Chen said parental accompaniment is an important part of growing up and quality parental time can have positive effects on children.

However, as parents in double-income families are often working, time spent with children is reduced and can lead to family disharmony or social problems, Chen said.

The foundation urged parents to spend quality time with their children every day, because even small acts, such as chatting with them, hugging them or saying that they love them, can make children feel cared for and positive.

The foundation said that surveys on fifth and sixth graders in 2009 and 2014 showed that the percentage of children who consider “a person whom they have chatted with more than three times is not a stranger anymore” increased by 32.3 percentage points, and meeting people they became acquainted with through the Internet rose by 5.5 points.

It said that while children think making friends is important, parents should be cautious about how their children are making friends through the Internet, because interpersonal relationships built online might be complicated.

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