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South Korea ranks most stressful country for children

Photo Credit: Flickr/Marie
Chung Hye-min
Written by Chung Hye-min

South Korean children are the least happy and most pressured by schoolwork among developed countries, a study published on Wednesday showed.

The study by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) drew the conclusion by comparing the 2013 National Survey of Children and Youth Data with a 2013 report by UNICEF where children in “wealthy” countries were surveyed.

The latest Korean study found that 50.5 percent of the Korean children aged 11, 13 and 15 years old feel pressured by school work, higher than theirs peers in all of the 29 wealthy countries that UNICEF surveyed.

The UNICEF report published under the title of “Children’s Subjective Well-being in Rich Countries” showed that 49.4 percent of Spanish children felt pressured by schoolwork, followed by Slovenia with 48.9 percent and Portugal with 47.2 percent.

The KIHASA report also suggests that only 60.3 percent of Korean students are happy with their life, lower than all the 29 countries surveyed by UNICEF.

Only 18.5 percent of the surveyed Korean children replied that they were very satisfied with school.

Korean children’s self-evaluation of relationship with their parents and peers were about or slightly above average.

About 64.3 percent of Korean students responded that classmates are kind and helpful, slightly less than the average of 67.2 percent.

The percentage of Korean children who felt comfortable talking to their fathers was 63.7, below the average of 66.4 percent.

However, 82.9 percent of the respondents said they are comfortable talking to their mothers, similar to the average of 82.7 percent.

About the author

Chung Hye-min

Chung Hye-min

Chung Hye-min is an intern reporter at the Korea Observer and a junior majoring in history at Dartmouth College. She writes for the student daily newspaper ‘The Dartmouth.” She enjoys writing about campus events on the topic of international affairs. Follow her on Twitter @hannahthechung.

  • http://eslinsider.com/blog ESLinsider

    I am not surprised. Kids get a lot of pressure from parents to succeed in school there. Ivy league school prepping starts for some as early as kindergarten. Korea does have one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

  • Do-Nee Yor

    What is the point of bringing up numbers of studies completed by others? I think, as a writer you are supposed to offer your own opinion on the problem along with mentioning the findings of other studies. Another problem of this “article” is the headline is focusing more on “south Korea” rather than ” children stressed with school life”. Such headlines create anger among Korean readers. Since the Korean Observer is issued in Korea and mostly targets the problems In Korea, I think headlines should not contain ” South Korea”, “Korea” or “Korean” words. Instead, they should stress the problem itself, and the reader will find out later in the article that it is some kind of problem in Korea.

    • guest

      Don’t shoot the messenger. The first part of solving a problem is identifying it.

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