China’s Left-Behind Children are Lonely, Underperforming, and Sad – Businessweek

China has an estimated 61 million “left-behind children”—youths in the countryside who grow up separated from migrant worker parents. A survey has just detailed the problems facing an alienated generation whose members are usually raised by relatives, educated in rural boarding schools, or even forced by circumstance to live alone.

China's Left-Behind Children Are Lonely, Underperforming, and Sad

Without proper attention, many regularly suffer injuries, says a report released on Nov. 30 by the China Youth & Children Research Center. Almost half of the group’s members (known in Chinese as liushou ertong) has been injured in accidents involving cuts, burns, animal bites, traffic accidents, and electric shocks. That was 5.3 percent higher than the rate of injury experienced by other children, the study said.

With most attending underfunded, overcrowded rural schools—or even dropping out—the academic problems facing left-behind children are particularly severe. More than four-fifths reported problems with declining scholastic performance, and 43.8 percent were not interested in studying.

Just under 70 percent of left-behind children reported being unable to understand their class lessons. About one-half had problems finishing homework, 40 percent were late for classes, and 5.5 percent were often absent—all higher rates than those experienced by children raised by their parents.

Without access to adequate social support, many reported experiencing negative feelings. Almost one-half were irritable, while around 40 percent said they were unhappy. One-fifth said they had problems losing their temper without good reason.

Left-behind girls were even more vulnerable than boys, repording higher rates of problems in each of these areas, as well as a lower sense of self-worth than their male counterparts. As for loneliness—a problem experienced by all the left-behind children— girls again suffered more: Some 42.9 percent of left-behind girls said they often feel lonely. That’s 6.2 percent higher than their male counterparts reported, and it’s 6.7 percent higher than girls who live with their parents.

via China’s Left-Behind Children are Lonely, Underperforming, and Sad – Businessweek.

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