Children want to have a say in matters that affect them, Young Voices study reveal

The latest research conducted by Save the Children Hong Kong, a leading international NGO supporting the most deprived and marginalised children, reveals concerns of young people in Hong Kong including family and academic pressure, bullying in school, and safety in the digital world. They urge leaders and decision-makers to do more to address social problems and help children with mental wellbeing issues and combat different forms of discrimination.

Originated by Save the Children Sweden in 2014, the Young Voices research is a unique, child-centred study developed to make the voices of young people heard on matters that affect their daily lives at school, at home and in the community. Save the Children Hong Kong conducted focus groups with 58 secondary school students in May-June 2019 and surveyed 1,151 children aged between 12 and 17 in July 2020. The results presented in the Young Voices report launched today are the views and opinions of these youth, representing different socio-economic and demographic backgrounds.

According to the survey:

  • 42% of the responding students said they often or always felt sad and down for a long time.

  • 3 in 5 had worried that someone they knew would practice self-harm.

  • 64% often or always felt stressed over schoolwork or academic results.

  • 46% said they have often or always worried about being punished by parents.

  • Nearly 1 out of 4 youth never or seldom feels safe on the internet, ranking the internet the least safe environment for them.

  • 57% think their future is positive.

  • Around half of them would like to have more opportunities to address issues concerning them in school, their communities and their homes.

  • More than 80% of the responding students felt that leaders and decision-makers need to do more to improve the situation for low-income families and disabled children, stop bullying and online harassment and abuse, help children with mental health issues, and also work to address different forms of discrimination against ethnic minorities, gender and sexual orientation.

Carol Szeto, CEO of Save the Children Hong Kong, said: “At Save the Children, we put children’s wellbeing at the heart of all we do. The findings of our Young Voices study have signaled some worrying aspects of our young people’s realities, which I hope would inspire actors at all levels of our society to prioritise and address these needs of our children. Together, we have to deepen our accountability to children and help build a brighter future for our next generation.”

Save the Children Hong Kong has been supporting parent-child communication and relationships through our signature Heart to Heart Parent-Child Programme, while helping to ensure that the physical and mental health needs of children are being addressed through our Mental Wellbeing Programmes.

For detailed research results, please click here.