By Ock Hyun-ju
According to a survey by ChildFund Korea conducted with 500 upper-grade elementary, middle and high school students, 50.8 percent said their financial situation got worse as parents could not get them what they wanted (27.2 percent), sales at their parents’ shops and restaurants dropped (10.2 percent) and their parents took out loans (6.2 percent).
Amid the prolonged pandemic, nearly 50 percent of students said they had felt depressed because they could not relieve their stress outside (33.1 percent), they could not hang out with friends (29 percent) and they gained weight and lost confidence in their appearance (10.1 percent).
As students spent most of their time attending classes online from home this year, the majority of the pupils, or 65.8 percent, said they had difficulties studying at home alone. For reasons they found it challenging to take classes online, 40.4 percent said they could not stay focused and could not comprehend what they learned, while 24 percent said the classes were boring.
Some 56.2 percent of the pupils said their stress and anxiety levels about learning went up because they could not focus on studying, according to the survey.
Their biggest personal wish for 2021 was taking off masks at 25.4 percent, followed by spending time with friends at 24.4 percent, showing good academic performance at 16.4 percent, going on a trip at 14.8 percent and losing weight and working out at 11.6 percent.
As for their wishes for the country, 43.2 percent of the students hoped that Korea would be able to root out the coronavirus and develop COVID-19 vaccines, and 38.6 percent hoped the country could return to normalcy.