UNICEF: 6 in 10 under-five children still face physical punishment


By Alfred Koroma

Six in ten children below five years old globally face physical punishment at home, a new estimate from UNICEF says.

According to the data published this week, of the nearly 400 million under-fives children in the world, 330 million are punished by physical means.

Many countries have banned physical punishment against children at home, but around half a billion under-fives are still left without adequate legal protection, UNICEF reports.

Social norms are some of the key factors responsible for violent child rearing practices, the report says, more than one in four mothers and primary caregivers expressed that physical punishment is necessary to raise children.

About four in ten children, aged two to four years do not get enough stimulation at home, and one in ten misses out on activities with their caregivers, critical to development, such as reading, storytelling, singing, and drawing, according to the findings. It also reveals that many children have no toys at home, and they do not play with their caregivers.

UNICEF is urging governments to strengthen legal and policy frameworks to end all forms of violence against children in the home, and provide greater investments in evidence-based parenting programmes and play spaces for children.

“When children are subjected to physical or verbal abuse at home, or when they are deprived of social and emotional care from their loved ones, it can undermine their sense of self-worth and development,” UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell is quoted saying in the report which was published on Tuesday, on the first-ever International Day of Play (IDOP).

The Day highlights the crucial role of play on human development across cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth.

Russell said nurturing and playful parenting can bring joy and help children feel safe, learn, build skills, and navigate the world around them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here