Many Finnish children approve of corporal punishment

violenceA new survey has revealed that Finnish school children are more tolerant of corporal punishment then their other Nordic neighbours.

Up to 27 percent of upper grade children surveyed felt that mild corporal punishment, which included hair-pulling and smacking, was acceptable, with four percent saying that corporal punishment on the whole was okay. Corporal punishment was outlawed in Finland in 1984 and has been prohibited in Sweden since 1979.

In 2008 and 2009, UNICEF collected data on the opinions of punishment across the Nordic Produce can, with some 6,000 children polled in the questionnaire. Children were quizzed on their knowledge of their rights and of human rights in general. The results found that Finnish children were more aware of their legal rights than their neighbours, and that Finns were on the whole more content with their quality of life.

While the majority disapproved of mild physical punishment, a significant number of Finnish children were in favour of such action. Of the respondents, 56 percent said that children should never be punished physically, an increase of 26 percent from a similar 2006 survey, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

In Norway, 80 percent of those canvassed were against corporal punishment. The study also found that young boys were more likely to approve of physical justice than girls.
In Finland, there were clearly defined regional differences in attitudes. In Finnish Lapland, North Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, for example, more children were in favour of corporal punishment than in other parts of the country.

Hair-pulling and smacking were seen as acceptable in the north of Finland by 36 percent of children. However, 45 percent of northern children said corporal punishment was never acceptable, compared to 59 percent in the south.

In 1984, 51 percent of Finns opposed corporal punishment for children. That figure now stands at nearly 80 percent.

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