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Parents Have Growing Concerns Over Child Safety

Posted April. 26, 2007 03:18,   


Korean parents are worried about their children’s safety as a succession of child kidnapping cases has recently taken place. A few days ago, Yang Ji-seung (9) was found dead after 40 days of missing, and last month, another elementary school student (8) also was found dead after being abducted in Incheon.

Because of this situation, the number of subscribers to global positioning system services (GPS) is on the rise and more children are trying to learn the art of self-defense in private institutes.

KTF, one of Korea`s major mobile communications providers, launched its so-called ‘iSearch Service’ last October, which allows parents to know anytime where their children are. The number of subscribers to this service increased to 51,475 on March 19 after the kidnapping case in Incheon, up from 41,540 in February.

In particular, after the Incheon case was reported between March 17 and 18, the daily subscriber tally was 388 and 323 respectively, which was far higher than the average daily number of 260.

SK Telecom, one of Korea`s leading wireless communications service operators, also saw the number of new subscribers to its GPS service, which provides the locations of children under 12 to their parents eight times a day, doubled to 4,000 in March. Moreover, people applying for GPS services for children over 12 soared 57 times to 30,000 from a month ago.

In addition, many private physical training institutes that focused on improving health or losing weight are switching to teaching self-defense. In fact, some of them have changed their names to “institutes of the self-defense art.”

These institutes are teaching children how to manage emergent situations when kidnappers or sexual harassers pull their arms or clothes, or hug them from behind. In an institute in Mapo, Seoul, the number of students doubled after the Incheon kidnapping last month.

Furthermore, some primary schools are sending letters to parents which explain what to do to prevent their children from being kidnapped or what to do if their children are abducted. A primary school in Gangnam sent parents letters recommending they come to school before and after classes with their children in order to prevent kidnapping cases.

At another school in Gangnam, mothers of the “Mother Police” patrol around the school between 1:30 p.m. and 2: 30 p.m. everyday. The school has asked them to do this in two shifts after school.

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