A news conference presenting a White Paper on “Chinese Left-Behind Children’s Psychological Conditions” (《中国留守儿童心灵状况白皮书》) was held in Beijing by the philanthropic organization “Shang Xue Lu Shang” （上学路上）on the 24th of June. During the conference it was revealed that 6931 (93.3%) of the 7432 questionnaires sent out for the study were sent back and were valid. The survey aims to reveal how the psychological conditions and stress response of left-behind children is influenced by the companionship of their parents. Some unexposed situations that suggested potential ways to help left-behind children were also presented in the White Paper.
The White Paper shows that 849 (13.1%) of the 7000 children investigated have been left-behind by both parents, who have left their homes to work. 25.7% of the children have been left-behind by one parent, and 7.7% of them mentioned that they have not been with their parents for a year. The absence of parents due to work has a huge influence on left-behind children’s self-esteem and their mental development. Children who have met or had contact with their parents more often are more likely to receive sufficient support and approval, so that they are able to establish a positive self-concept and maintain a high self-esteem. By contrast, those who have no contact or have contacted their parents only once or twice in the past year have significantly lower self-esteem than other left-behind children. Companionship is an important element that contributes to a healthy psychological condition in a child, to which a family’s income or social class is not necessarily relevant. It is thus important to make parents aware of this, so that some of these children’s problems can be addressed.
The White Paper on left-behind children was published for the first time in 2015. The 2016 White Paper was started in October 2015, and developed by “Shang Xue Lu Shang” in cooperation with Beijing Normal University.