HomeNewsChildren in India feel empowered and believe their voices are heard: UNICEF
Children in India feel empowered and believe their voices are heard: UNICEF
NEW DELHI, 20 November 2017– According to a new survey released by UNICEF on World Children’s Day, when children were asked how they felt when decisions are made that affect them, Indian children report feeling the most empowered, with 52 percent of them believing their voices are heard and that their opinions can affect the future of their country. When the same question was posed to children in 14 other countries, 50 percent reported feeling disenfranchised.
Violence against children, access to healthcare, and poor education are among the biggest concerns for children in India, according to the report. Poverty, bullying or mistreatment and natural disasters emerged as the other main worries. 51 percent of children aged between 9 to 12 admitted worrying a lot about violence affecting children across the world, and 43 percent of 13-18 respondents feel concerned a lot over being personally affected by violence. The results also reveal that 91 percent of Indian children believe the world would be a better place if world leaders listened to children’s voices.
“It is clear that children are acutely aware of the challenges their peers across the world face, and it is also apparent that they are afraid of being affected by these issues themselves,” said Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative to India.
Some of the key findings across India include:
1. Indian children worry about:
mistreatment and bullying affecting their peers,
environmental threats (including pollution and climate change) at 75 percent, natural disasters at 56 percent and poor health at 54 percent.
2. Children in India want world leaders to take action on terrorism (24 percent), poverty (16 percent), poor education (16 percent), violence against children (10 percent) and threats to nature (10 percent).
3. Less than half – 45 percent children believe their opinion is appreciated by world leaders, while 91 percent believe the world would be a better place if children’s voices were listened to by world leaders.
The survey was carried out in 14 countries across the world among more than 11,000 children between 9 and 18 years old. The findings across all 14 countries reveal children feel very concerned about global issues affecting their peers and them personally, including violence, terrorism, conflict/wars, unfair treatment of refugees and migrants, and poverty.
Some of the key findings across 14 countries where the survey was carried out include:
Children in South Africa and the United Kingdom feel the most disenfranchised with 73 percent and 71 percent respectively reporting feeling that their voices are not heard at all or their opinions do not make a change.
Violence against children was the biggest concern with 67 percent reporting worrying a lot. Children in Brazil, Nigeria, and Mexico are the most worried about the same, with 82 percent, 77 percent and 74 percent respectively worrying a lot about this issue. Children in Japan are the least likely to worry, with less than a quarter of children surveyed (23 percent) worrying a lot.
Children are equally concerned about terrorism and poor education with 65 percent of all children surveyed worrying a lot about these issues. Children in Turkey and Egypt are the most likely to worry about terrorism affecting them personally, at 81 percent and 75 percent respectively. By contrast, children in the Netherlands are the least likely to be concerned that terrorism would affect them directly, at just 30 percent. Children in Brazil and Nigeria are the most concerned about poor education or lack of access to education, with more than 8 in 10 children worrying about this affecting children across the world.
Around 4 in 10 children across all 14 countries worry a lot about the unfair treatment of refugee and migrant children across the world. Children in Mexico, Brazil and Turkey are the most likely to worry about the unfair treatment of refugee and migrant children across the world, with nearly 3 in 5 Mexican children expressing a lot of fear, followed by more than half of children in Brazil and Turkey. Around 55 percent of children in Mexico are worried this issue will personally affect them.
Children across all 14 countries identified terrorism, poor education and poverty as the biggest issues they wanted world leaders to take action on.
The impact of media coverage on the level of worrying among children appears to be strong. Objectively speaking, issues such as poor health care and a lack of food affect more children than terrorism, yet in most countries, more children are worried about terrorism than about poor health care and a lack of food.
Nearly half of children (45 percent) across 14 countries do not trust adults and world leaders to make good decisions for children. Brazil has the highest proportion of children (81 percent) who do not trust leaders, followed by South Africa with 69 percent. Children in India have the most confidence in their leaders, with only 30 percent not trusting leaders.
Barack Obama, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are the most popular names for children to invite to their birthday party, with the former President of the United States featuring in the top five in 9 of the 14 countries. Watching TV featured the number one hobby of choice in 7 out of 14 of the countries, outside of school.
This World Children’s Day, UNICEF aims to empower children to ‘take over’ and come together to speak out on the issues that are most important to them. This is a day for children, by children. UNICEF hopes World Children’s Day will inspire governments, businesses and communities across the world to listen to children and incorporate their opinions into decision-making processes that affect them.
“It’s a fun day with a serious point. A day for children by children to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and help them fulfil their potential,” said Justin Forsyth, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.
“It is our duty to listen to children and recommit ourselves to the goal of seeing every child treated fairly and living free from oppression,” he added.