September 26, 2011 11:52
Three out of every 10 elementary schoolchildren in Korea are so-called latchkey kids who spend at least an hour a day alone at home after school. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said Sunday that 29.6 percent of the total 3.28 million elementary schoolchildren in the country are latchkey kids.
Some 24.2 percent spend three to five hours at home alone, and 23.5 percent more than five hours, according to a study of 20,354 third and fifth graders and 3,246 parents between April and June this year. Asked why their children are left alone after school, 36.1 percent of the parents said because of their private crammer schedules, 27 percent said they have nowhere to send their kids, and 8.1 percent that they cannot afford childcare services.
But parents made few preparations for the safety of their children, the study showed. Some 88 percent said they taught their children what to do when they are home alone, but only 35 percent of the kids said they talk about it with their parents. Also, 29.3 percent of latchkey kids said they suffered some sort of violence over the past year, while 8 percent had been mugged and 12.1 percent threatened.
But only 5.4 percent of the parents said their children were victimized by such crimes, suggesting they were unaware of the dangers their children face.
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