Children feeling increasingly blue, school survey finds

Local | 15 Aug 2018 5:11 pm

Researchers say happiness levels among local children dropped slightly during the last academic year, and they are putting their findings down to pressure from schoolwork and extracurricular activities, RTHK reports.

A team from Chu Hai College of Higher Education said today that they surveyed more than 3,500 students, from 11 primary schools and eight secondary schools, for their annual index of children's happiness.

This time it has come in at 6.72, down from last year's 6.75 but still higher than the lowest point to date – 6.50 – in the 2015-16 school year.

Professor Ho Lok-sang – director of the college's Polling and Public Opinion Centre – said he was hoping for the index to continue on its upward trajectory, but rising pressures have taken their toll.

He said most surprising is the sharp decline in happiness among children aged nine or below.

"I had attributed this to perhaps this prevailing culture of parents to have kids win on the starting line, so they put a lot of pressure on their kids at very young age,” he said.

"Schools do the same, perhaps reflecting those values. And, I know that some schools actually try to teach material of a senior class to junior grades, and that’s really quite unreasonable,” he added.

Ho said the drop in the index could have been more severe, but exposure to subjects like personality development is making them more resilient. He said he is hoping schools will incorporate such lessons into the formal curriculum.

Ho said other factors that contribute to children's happiness are their family life, having enough leisure time, and having enough space within their neighborhood so they can play with friends.

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