Mon, Nov 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Survey finds 42% of teens passive in social issues

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Forty-two percent of teenagers in Taiwan are passive toward social issues, but the issue they care about the most is legalization of same-sex marriage, the Child Welfare League Foundation said yesterday.

The foundation released the results of a survey it conducted among junior and senior-high school students, which gathered 1,778 valid questionnaires from Sept. 12 to Oct. 23.

The results showed that 41.6 percent of teenagers are passive about social issues — meaning they do not participate or discuss such issues with others — while 32 percent are worried that they might be singled out if they voice their opinions.

Among nine popular issues listed, the topics that more than half of the respondents said they are concerned about are legalization of same-sex marriage (63.2 percent), the 12-year national education system (56.6 percent), abolition of the death penalty (51 percent) and legalization of voluntary euthanasia (50.7 percent).

However, foundation executive secretary Huang Yun-hsuan (黃韻璇) said the average score of their self-evaluation of how much they understand the issues was 2.8 out of 5.

The teens might know a bit about public issues and make simple comments, but are not capable of expressing detailed points of view, she said.

Among the teens who say they care about social issues, 74.8 percent said they discuss with other people, 64.8 percent said they have read related information on the Internet and 25.5 percent said they write about or respond to the issues online.

However, when asked if they have taken actions to support their ideas, only 12.9 percent said they have donated money, 9.8 percent have volunteered, 5.3 percent have signed petitions and 2.3 percent have participated in parades or protests.

Huang said that parents’ attitudes might influence teenagers’ attitudes toward social issues, as 40.9 percent of parents were reportedly unsupportive of their children’s interest in such matters.

Among them, 52.4 percent believe they should focus on school work, 43 percent think they should care when they are older and 40 percent are worried they will be in danger, the survey showed.

Children and teenagers have the right to participate in public affairs and express their opinions, the foundation said, urging parents, teachers, the government and society to provide them with more information to help them develop critical thinking and self-expression.

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