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The Peninsula

Protecting South Korean Children

Published December 16, 2020
Author: Korea View
Category: South Korea

This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.

What Happened

  • South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission determined that schools were unjustly violating the students’ freedom when taking away their cell phones.
  • Schools claim that cell phone usage interferes with education and had maintained a ban on students using mobile devices while classes were in session.
  • Meanwhile, cases of child abuse are still prevalent in the country.

Implications: The government’s push to expand the rights of children clashes with its passive approach to the prevalence of abuse at home. Recent advances to students’ freedoms followed formal measures to protect underaged celebrities from tough working conditions. While this trend suggests a concerted focus on improving the children’s standard of living, there have not been more proactive measures to protect children from abuse by their parents or relatives in the privacy of their homes.

ContextCultural norms restrict the government’s involvement in how parents treat their children. While the number of reported child abuse cases are lower in 2020 compared to 2018, people suspect that this simply reflects the difficulty of measuring abuse as fewer victims are seen in public due to the pandemic. Even though the law prohibits parents from using corporal punishment on their children, the prevalence of cases suggests greater public intervention might be needed.

Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of Sophie Joo and Chris Lee.

Photo from hjl’s photostream on flickr Creative Commons.

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