Children safest at home and school, appearance-based discrimination most common: research

Majority of children feel like they belong at their school, but think schools don’t pay enough attention to hygiene. The safest place for them to be is home, while the most common form of discrimination at this age is physical appearance, show findings of a research conducted by First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi.

1,077 children, aged 12-17, from 78 cities and villages throughout North Macedonia took part in the study.

Megjashi representative Jordanka Cherepnalkova-Trajkoska told a press briefing on Monday that research participants were polled on issues in different areas such as children’s rights, education, safety, discrimination, etc.

Data shows that 69.74% of student feel like they belong in their school, have the respect of classmates (66.35%), teachers and other staff (62.97%) and would talk to a teacher/staffer if they felt unsafe (74.62).

A considerable amount of research participants (60.62) think schools don’t pay enough attention to hygiene and they refrain from using them (68.23%).

Most children believe they eat healthy (72.47%), get enough sleep (81.91%) and are physically active (70.36%). The majority of them (51.88%) have some sort of pastry for breakfast/lunch at school.

A large portion of kids, Megjashi representatives told the news conference, eat fast food (39.27%), snacks (38.02%) and desserts (42.83%) every day.

More than half of study participants never eat vegetables, while over 1/3 never eat fruit at school.

“Air pollution in winter poses an issue for 2/3 of adolescents, who say that it affects their physical and mental health, limits their everyday activities and forces them to spend the majority of their time at home,” read research results.

10% of participants say they experienced at some point some form of violence, while 21.85% know other who have. 42.24% of kids have felt discriminated against, citing age, sex, and financial background as grounds for discrimination.

Children taking part in the study note that they have also been discriminated against based on their looks, weight, color of their skin, as well as their place of residence, the clothes they wear or music they listen to.