SEOUL, Apr. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — While child abuse at daycare centers is becoming a serious social issue in South Korea, one out of four parents of toddlers think teachers at daycare centers or kindergartens can impose corporal punishment on children for discipline.
The Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE) conducted a survey of 500 parents with young children asking them whether corporal punishment should be allowed for children at daycare centers.
Among the respondents, 25.1 percent said that corporal punishment should be allowed, while 74.9 percent said it should be prohibited.
Fathers (31.3 percent) tended to push more for corporal punishment than mothers (19.4 percent).
In a KICCE report from 2017, 73.3 percent of respondents said parents may or should corporally punish their children if they have done something wrong.
Most parents with toddlers thought daycare centers were safe.
When asked if they thought it was safe for their children to spend time at kindergartens and daycare centers, 10.9 percent of the parents said ‘very much so,’ while 74.5 percent answered ‘more or less.’
As for the factors that threaten child safety at daycare centers, 59.7 percent of the parents pointed to ‘child abuse,’ followed by ‘shuttle bus accidents’ (19.4 percent), ‘food and sanitation’ (11.3 percent), and ‘neighboring facilities that undermine children’s education’ (1.6 percent).
Among the parents, 14.9 percent said they had experienced suspecting daycare centers of abusing their child, 33.3 percent of whom were told by their children about the abuse.
Another 20.6 percent were informed by other parents, and 11.1 percent saw signs of physical abuse on their children.
South Korea has relevant legislation in place that allows for reporting and punishing child abuse. The legislation, however, fails to define what amounts to ‘discipline.’
The question is being left for child protection agencies and the police to decide.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)