We read an interesting piece from the Los Angeles Times about “the left-behind children” or 留守兒童 (liushou ertong): children from rural areas who are left behind when one or both parents migrate to the cities to find work. Evidently, there are as many as 20 million of these kids, or about one for every six migrant workers in China, though this article (in Chinese) states that the actual number depends on how you’re counting them. For example, if one or both parents have to be gone, long-term, for the child to be considered “left-behind.” That report also includes some interesting data, such as the fact that 19 percent of “left-behind” kids never talk to anyone about their thoughts and feelings, while 46 percent of them occasionally talk to someone. Significant proportions of them have problems with schoolwork, lie and steal, and do other bad things like get in fights and spend too much time on the internet/computer playing games. Of course, most of the parents are working far from their children and families not because they want to, but because they have to. Nonetheless, some still lay part of the blame on the parents, because you can’t expect the kids’ teachers or grandparents to fill the void that the parents have left.
Photo from sina.com.