James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Children list causes of bad behaviour

Global survey reveals what Kiwi kids consider are main contributors to violence

More than 60 per cent of New Zealand children in the survey believed everyone should have a good education and be safe from crimes and violence. Photo / Getty Images
More than 60 per cent of New Zealand children in the survey believed everyone should have a good education and be safe from crimes and violence. Photo / Getty Images

In Afghanistan the kids blame war and fighting, in the US it's guns but New Zealand children say alcohol and drugs are two of the main triggers for violence in this country.

A global study conducted by ChildFund Alliance shows that more than a third of the 1000 New Zealand children surveyed said alcohol and bad behaviour were the two main contributors to violence while just under a third said drugs were among the main causes.

The fourth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams 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.

It found that more than 60 per cent of New Zealand children in the survey believed everyone should have a good education and be safe from crimes and violence.

Professor Sally Casswell of the SHORE & Whariki Research Centre at Massey University said children were "quite clever observers" and the survey's findings were interesting when compared with other developed nations.

"In terms of the survey findings the comparison I would look particularly at is the comparison with the other developed countries and in both the cases the children were more likely to say in New Zealand that alcohol and drugs were the main causes of violence," she said

"I think this reflects the fairly high level of consumption we have in New Zealand."

The survey showed 13 per cent of New Zealand children blamed domestic abuse as the main cause of violence, which was higher than other developed countries.

"It's not such a big difference ... but it is there," said Professor Casswell.


5 most important issues for Kiwi kids

• 65% Everyone should have a good education

• 62% Everyone should be safe from crimes and also violence

• 51% Everyone should be treated the same and nobody should be treated badly

• 43% The forests, rivers and oceans should be safe from harm

• 42% Everyone should have food that is good and not too expensive

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