A majority of the nation’s young people feel unsafe in public places, according to a survey published yesterday by a local children’s charity, while one in three of the respondents have personally witnessed bullying.
The Taiwan Fund for Children and Families surveyed 2,335 students between the ages of 11 and 15 around the country on the sources of stress. The top five causes of stress for the respondents are safety in public places, school bullying, fear of sexual assault, changing education policies and a heavy school workload, according to the results of the survey. Nearly 83 percent of the children in the sample reported feeling worried about their own safety, the group said.
The survey also found that 72 percent of those polled said they were not in good health, with a majority of them reporting sleep loss, having trouble going to sleep, physical pain and emotional problems.
More junior-high school students reported “poor health” conditions than primary school children, according to the survey.
Yu Shu-chen (游淑貞), the fund’s director of social resources, said: “One in three has witnessed others being bullied or has lived through the experience themselves,” while “one out of eight knows someone who has been sexually assaulted.”
The government’s constant flip-flops on education policies also caused stress to 30 percent of those polled, Ge Ming-en (葛銘恩), a children’s representative, said at a press conference, adding that the government should come up with a well-rounded education policy so students would feel less stressed.
Cheng Li-chen (鄭麗珍), a social work professor at National Taiwan University, said the results of the survey were alarming, adding that the government should do more to prevent bullying at school and should strengthen young people’s ability to protect themselves.
A total of 2,335 valid questionnaire samples were collected nationwide between Sept. 1 and Sept. 23.