Most preteens have hard time making friends: poll

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Jul 23, 2014 - Page 4

A surprising 60.3 percent of preteens who took part in a recent survey said they have trouble making friends and do not know how to get along with others, a poll released on Monday that sheds light on the social habits of Taiwanese elementary and junior-high students showed.

The Child Welfare League Foundation said its survey on schoolchildren in grades five to eight found that of this 60.3 percent, 40.2 percent “don’t know what to do” after getting into arguments with friends, while 30.5 percent reported that they do not know how to express their feelings.

More lonely are the 15.7 percent who said they do not even know how to make friends.

While they experienced difficulty in real life, many of the respondents said they tend to see people on the Internet as their friends.

Nearly all of the preteens surveyed — 96 percent — make friends in school and in afterschool classes, but 45.1 percent said they feel that chatting over the Internet is easier than talking face-to-face.

Television plays a major role as a source of information for half of the preteens surveyed, leaving them more open to romantic relationships.

With the popularity of television dramas, 26 percent of those polled said they get their information on male and female relationships from Taiwanese “idol dramas,” while another 20 percent get theirs from Japanese and South Korean dramas.

Inspired by the content of those shows, 16 percent of respondents said they would “do anything” for their significant other, with some saying they would not mind being “the other” boy or girl in a relationship.

More than 60 percent said they felt hugging was acceptable, 40 percent said they were okay with kissing, 12.6 percent said they felt comfortable caressing and 5.2 percent said they would agree to sexual intercourse.

One-quarter of the preteens said they have been in at least one relationship, but more than half of them did not last beyond a few months.

The Child Welfare League Foundation offers counseling for minors of all ages and encouraged anyone with problems or personal concerns to call for assistance.

The survey polled 3,094 schoolchildren last month, collecting 2,810 valid samples with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.