Almost 400 million children are victims of violent disciplinary methods

Nearly 400 million children under the age of 5, or six in ten worldwide, are regularly victims of violent discipline at home, said the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The estimates published on Monday night by the United Nations Children’s Fund cover around a hundred countries that compiled this type of data between 2010 and 2023, which include “psychological aggression” and “corporal punishment” .

UNICEF understands “psychological aggression” to mean shouting at a child or insulting them. Physical punishment includes shaking the child, slapping, spanking and, in general, any blows with the intention of causing pain without causing injury.

Of the almost 400 million children who are victims of these violent disciplinary methods, approximately 330 million suffer physical punishment.

Although more and more countries have banned corporal punishment, almost 500 million children under the age of 5 are not legally protected from these practices.

More than one in four primary caregivers believe physical punishment is necessary to raise children well, according to UNICEF estimates.

“When children are victims of physical or verbal abuse at home, or when they are deprived of social and emotional attention from those close to them, this can harm their self-esteem and development,” he commented. the head of UNICEF, in a statement.

“A nurturing, playful approach to parenting brings joy and helps children feel safe, learn, acquire new skills and navigate the world around them,” added Catherine Russell.

UNICEF also published this Tuesday, for the first time, estimates on children’s access to the opportunity to play, to mark the first International Day of Play.

According to data covering 85 countries, one in five children between the ages of 2 and 4 do not play with their caregiver at home and approximately one in eight children under the age of 5 do not have toys.

Around 40% of children between the ages of 2 and 4 are not sufficiently stimulated or lack interaction and one in ten do not have access to activities at home that are “critical for the cognitive, social and emotional development, such as reading, telling stories, singing, drawing”.

“On this first International Day of Play, we must unite and reaffirm our commitment to ending violence against children and promoting positive, affectionate and playful relationships with children”, insisted Catherine Russell.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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