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Only-Child Generation Craves for Peers

Xinhua, 7 November 2001

BEIJING, November 7 (Xinhua)—Most young Chinese who have no siblings wish to belong to groups and love activities organized by their peers, Wednesday's Beijing Youth Daily reported, citing the conclusions of a recent survey of middle school students in the capital.

Nearly eight out of ten children surveyed said they have a group of peers who stick together. The number of members in each group varies from three to over a dozen.

The majority of Chinese families now have only one child since the one-child policy has been in place for nearly 20 years as a measure to control the population growth of the world's most populous country.

Yu Yiqun, associate professor at the Beijing Juvenile Research Center which conducted the survey, said the young only-child generation's longing for communication with friends shows that they have become aware of their social needs.

They wish to be recognized by equals. Parents and teachers are no longer the only group they want to turn to, said the Yu.

The survey found that students tend to choose classmates of similar age. Outgoing students with good academic records are ranked top when the students are asked what kind of friends they like to make in the survey. Smart and capable kids are in second place followed by sociable people.

Parents don't have to worry about kids making friends randomly and taking in bad influences, Yu said, adding it is not wise to limit children to the ideas and values of the older generation.

Education experts here point out that with the growth of the only-child generation, special efforts should be made to tailor the prevailing education measures for their healthy development.