Kelly Wu, Special to the China Post
Roughly ten percent of callers using a hotline for children under the age of twelve are worried about relations with members of the opposite sex, according workers at a Child Welfare League Foundation. Some of the callers were troubled by relationships they were developing with people they met at school or on the Internet, according to a foundation worker. Kuo Ya-hei, one of the hotline’s 22 operators, said she once had a caller who was troubled because she was one of the few people in her class who wasn’t dating someone they met through the Internet. The hotline, which was set up to provide an outlet for young children, has received about 28 calls a day since it was launched on April 10, according to Sung Chia-hui, the director of the hotline’s operation. While the service is intended mainly as a channel for elementary school students to vent their feelings, it can also offer callers help in solving their problems, Sung said.
Sung said a common complaint among boys was a fear of bullies at school. “An 11-year-old child had been bullied by a gang at his school. With the boy’s approval, we called the counselor’s office at his school and helped improve the situation,” Sung said.
And while affairs of the heart and gangs are on some children’s minds, most callers speak of more traditional anxieties, including fears of being supplanted by a new-born sibling and the pressure to get good grades, Sung added.