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South Korea. There are already over 400 “child-free zones” in this country

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South Korea has more than 400 “child-free zones,” yet the country spends hundreds of billions of dollars to encourage couples to have children. According to critics, the zones are another thing that makes young people think longer about starting a family.

As CNN describes, “child-free zones” have become particularly popular in South Korea in recent years. There are more than 400 of them nationwide, and the goal is mainly to provide adults with a “no worries” space. Meanwhile, Korea is the country with the lowest fertility rate in the world and spends hundreds of billions of dollars encouraging couples to have more children. The idea of ​​”child-free zones” may therefore seem counterproductive, notes the portal.

SEE ALSO: Fewer and fewer children are being born. This country broke its own record

South Korea. Child-free zones may have an impact on the demographic situation

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According to CNN, the trend for “kid-free zones” may have started in 2012 after an incident in one of the restaurants where a child was scalded by hot soup. Initially, his mother’s critical posts on social media aroused widespread sympathy. However, when a surveillance video showing the incident was released, the mother was blamed. The video shows that the child is running around the premises, and the woman has no control over him. Two years later, “children-free zones” became popular mainly in restaurants and cafes.

Meanwhile, last year South Korea’s fertility rate fell to a record low of 0.78, while it should be 2.1 to keep the population stable. In addition, the country’s population is one of the fastest aging in the world. Young Koreans already feel the pressure on many fronts related to their economic situation, including regarding high real estate prices or long shifts at work. Critics say the last thing this country needs is another issue that will make them think twice about starting a family. It’s about “kid free zones”.

Seoul, South KoreaShutterstock

According to opponents of such zones, instead of spending huge amounts of money on encouraging people to have children – more than 200 billion dollars have been spent in the last 16 years – the authorities in Seoul should focus on changing the society’s attitude towards children. WITH polls it shows that the majority of Koreans support “child-free zones”. In 2021, this opinion was expressed by more than 7 out of 10 adults, and these were not only childless people. In South Korea, the right to peace and quiet is so widely recognized that even many parents consider such zones reasonable and legitimate.

Prof. Bonnie Tilland noted in an interview with the portal that Koreans, especially in their 20s and 30s, have “a strong concept of personal space and are less and less tolerant of loud children and noisy elderly people.” According to her, this approach “reflects a disturbing intolerance towards everyone in public who is different from themselves.” As she stressed, however, this will have to be considered if the country wants to take action to solve demographic problems.

SEE ALSO: 500+ for loners. The first country wants to pay young people to go out

South Korea will fight “free zones from…”?

On the Korean island of Jeju, popular with tourists, there are now almost 80 “kid-free zones” in addition to “teen-free zones”, “senior-free zones” and other similar ones. Also in Seoul, you can come across places that restrict access to particular social groups. CNN lists “no rapper zones”, “no youtuber zones” or “no professors zones”. In Jeju, a debate has recently begun about the introduction of the country’s first law that would make the establishment of such zones illegal (only within the island).

A few weeks ago, such zones were also opposed by activist Yong Hye-in, the leader of the Party for Basic Income. On Children’s Day, she brought her 2-year-old son with her to parliament. – Everyday life with a child is not easy. Our society must again become one where children are included, she said from the podium, around which the child was walking.

In 2017, Korea’s State Human Rights Commission found that “child-free zones” violated the right to equality and called for an end to the practice. She also referred to Art. 11 of the Constitution, prohibiting discrimination on grounds of sex, religion or social status. However, the opinion was not binding.

SEE ALSO: 69 hour workweek? One of the world’s busiest nations says enough is enough

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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