Updated: 2013-08-19 07:58

(China Daily)

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Left-behind children need help

Comment on "Care for kids left behind" (China Daily, Aug 12)

I was a bit shocked to learn from the editorial that 22 percent of China's children are "left behind" in the countryside by their parents who generally migrate to urban areas in search of better livelihoods. That means more than two in 10 children in the country are living without a proper guardian.

From what I know, a child's mental health, which usually develops before the age of 14, faces more risks than his/her physical health if he/she is denied the guidance of a parent or proper guardian. Also, children from single-parent families are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses, such as autism, and behavioral, speech and language disorders, than those who live with both parents.

According to economist Stephen J. Dubner's theory, children from underprivileged households are more prone to committing crimes after growing up because they lack proper education and therefore job opportunities. Assuming that most of the children left behind by their "migrant worker" parents come from more or less the same poor-family background, it is the responsibility of the entire society to help ensure that they receive proper education and grow up as mentally and physically sound adults.

Bruce Chan, via e-mail

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(China Daily 08/19/2013 page9)