Kiwi children point the finger at alcohol and drugs as key triggers of violence in New Zealand.
A global study conducted by ChildFund Alliance reveals that over half of the 1000 Kiwi children surveyed placed alcohol and drugs as the two most common contributors to violence in our society.
These results reveal the remarkably well-developed understanding Kiwi kids have of the world they live in, with current statistics in New Zealand showing around one half of serious violent crimes are related to alcohol.
Kiwi children‘s thinking echoes that of children worldwide who demonstrated a mature knowledge of conflict and the precursors contributing to violence in their respective countries. Twenty percent of American children ranked guns as a major cause of violence and 50 percent of Kenyan children acknowledged social conflict as the main cause in their country. Afghani children believed war and fighting was the main reason for violence in their country.
ChildFund New Zealand Chief Executive Paul Brown says these results reinforce the importance of letting small voices be heard.
“Children understand more than we give them credit for and when given a voice, offer new insights into what we need to consider. ChildFund New Zealand is constantly engaging with children in the communities we work in to ensure our services and priorities are continually aligned with those who need it the most.”
The fourth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, commissioned by the ChildFund Alliance, is one of the most comprehensive polls of children's views in the world. This year’s survey asked 10-to-12-year-olds in 47 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Pacific and Asia about their view on socio-political issues facing their country.
Kiwi children were also aware that violence is often role modelled by parents. Many children commented that children learn from their parents and can ‘take that behaviour into the playground’. This view supports a number of academic studies which highlight how early experiences of violence can lead to violent behaviour in later life.
A variety of solutions for eradicating violence towards children were also shared by some of our clever young Kiwis, such as:
- Having less alcohol in shops
- Giving kids a safe house and only they know the code
- Having an alarm that goes off when you get smacked
- Expelling anyone from the city who is creating violence
- Banning alcohol and bad TV programmes and movies.
Children living in poverty in the developing world see improving their education to help themselves and their family as more important than having access to food. Over one in 10 (12 percent) of children in developing countries believe a lack of education is linked to violence in their countries, whereas in developed countries, only two percent of children make the same connection.
Seventeen percent of children in developing countries also said they would improve education to protect children from violence – 11 percentage points higher than those in developed countries.
And forget Richie McCaw, Lorde or One Direction, over half of the Kiwi kids surveyed said their number one hero was a family member. Parents came out on top, because they protect their children from danger, teach them life skills and support them in everything they do.
The significance of families as role models and educators was a common theme between the developed and developing world, with 48 percent of children in the developed world and 44 percent from developing countries saying their families or family members were their heroes.
Secretary General of the ChildFund Alliance, Jim Emerson says these findings reinforce the understanding that children in both the developed and developing worlds have an intelligent view of their environments.
“As adults, we’ve been reminded of the importance to stop and listen to what children have to say.”