1 In 3 Teenagers Worldwide Are Afraid To Go To School

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New research has shown that children throughout the world are concerned about their own safety as a result of school shootings in the United States. University of Turku researchers have shown that one in three teenagers feel insecure at their own school.

Among the more than 21,000 kids surveyed, 31.4 percent reported feeling uncomfortable at school, according to the study. According to the study, researchers polled teenagers from 13 countries throughout Europe and Asia between 2011 and 2017.

Two-thirds of Japanese children say they are afraid to go to school, with 69.8% of girls and 68.2% of boys reporting this. In contrast, just 11.5% of females in Finland and 7.7% of males in Norway express anxiety about attending school.

According to studies, one of the most important factors in fostering a sense of security among students is the interaction between teachers and students. The research found that students are more likely to feel secure at school if they believe their teacher cares about them. Having clear, consistent, and fair rules in the classroom helps students feel more secure.

Those who have been subjected to bullying, on the other hand, have described a decreased sense of security on school premises. Children who feel unsafe at school are more likely to suffer from mental health issues that they carry with them for the rest of their lives, according to researchers. “The interventions should include preventive initiatives such as psychoeducation, and social-emotional learning programs to enhance positive interaction of children and reduce behavioral problems. The findings showed a clear need for strategies to provide educational environments where all students can feel protected, regardless of their background,” says researcher Yuko Mori from Turku’s Research Centre for Child Psychiatry in a university release. “Physically, cognitively and emotionally safe school environment is essential for the development and educational success of children and young people. All children have the right to attend schools where they can feel safe and protected without fear or anxiety of any danger. In the wake of recent school shootings, we must take steps to enhance safety in educational settings and protect students from all forms of violence and abuse,” adds research leader Dr. Andre Sourander.

Percentage of adolescents feeling unsafe:

   Country        Girls      Boys

  1. Finland       11.5%     8.9%
  2. Norway      13.9%     7.7%
  3. Israel          14.6%   14.2%
  4. Greece       18.2%    24.2%
  5. India          17.8%    26.3%
  6. Iran            25.6%    34.3%
  7. Indonesia   30.3%    30.2%
  8. Lithuania   31.4%    35.4%
  9. Singapore  35.4%    34.3%
  10. China         48.8%   44.1%
  11. Russia        54.7%   45.9%
  12. Vietnam     49.6%   52.6%
  13. Japan         69.8%   68.2%

Data from: Feeling Unsafe at School Among Adolescents in 13 Asian and European Countries: Occurrence and Associated Factors, Front Psychiatry, 2022; 13: 823609. Published online 2022 Apr 25, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9082541/