People may be familiar with articles about newborn babies found in garbage bags, or parents who neglect babies because they are incapable of supporting a baby, leading to death. The baby box is designed to protect babies who are abandoned by parents who are unable to raise their baby due to unavoidable circumstances such as economic troubles and single mothers. When a baby is placed in the baby box, the heating system is activated and a bell rings inside the church to allow officials to identify and protect the child.
1▲Baby Boxes run by the Jusarang Community Church in Seoul.
From May 19 to May 22 the English-language newspaper conducted a survey of the students at Changwon University to hear their opinions about the baby box.
(The results cannot be generalized because a total of 21 students from Changwon University responded to the survey. Among the respondents, 15 were women and 6 were men. The distribution of studies were 2 in humanities, 7 in social sciences, 6 in business, 1 in natural sciences, 1 in mechatronics, 3 in art colleges, and 2 anonymous respondents. Most of the respondents were between the ages of 20 and 25.)
First of all, when asked whether they had previous knowledge about the baby box, respondents answered that the baby box was well known (38.1%), known (33.3%), average (14.3%), barely known (9.5%), and not known (4.8%).
Secondly, respondents were asked if they were for (pro) or against (con) the baby box.
Table1▲ Results of the pros and cons of installing baby boxes.
Table 1 shows the results of the survey in a circle graph. The results were 81 percent in favor and 19 percent in opposition. Let's listen to the reasons and opinions behind the responses of the respondents.
Jung Eun Ju, a fine arts major who is in favor of the baby box, said “If the baby box does not exist, it’s more likely that newborns will be abandoned. It is said that 30 percent of the abandoned babies go back to their mothers, thanks to the donations and supplies set up to run the baby box to help the single mothers in difficult situations.” For this reason, she strongly agrees with baby boxes installed across the country and expresses gratitude for the people who make the baby box possible. Other proponents said, "The misuse/abuse of a baby box is a problem, but I think it is one of the ways to save a life if the baby box is institutionalized and strictly regulated and supported.”
At the opposite stance, Yoon Da-hee, a music major said, “By installing the idea that there is a place to abandon babies, the baby box will create a way to let parents avoid responsibility and make them think it is acceptable. And If baby boxes are legalized and common, the facilities to take care of and raise babies will become overburdened and will not be properly managed.”
There are baby boxes in Finland, too. The baby box in Finland and in Korea are different in both purpose and perception. Where did this difference begin?
2▲Finland's baby box contains necessary supplies for babies and parents.
Hwang Hae Eul, a student at the Department of Law said, "In our country, baby boxes are used to receive abandoned children when we first operated them. In Finland, baby boxes are used as a social support system, so there is a difference in purpose, and I think the perception of baby boxes depends on how robust the society’s welfare system is." Park Chae eun, an economics major, said, "In order to remind parents of their responsibilities even if they are impoverished, we need a system that can support parents who feel unable to take on the responsibility of parenting by using baby boxes through education and advertising.”
Many of the students expressed the need for proper sex education for young children and institutional support at the national level. The baby box, which has been in existence for 10 years as of this year, is a combination of the contrary ideas of a "respect for life" "opening the opportunity to abandon newborn babies,", which has led to a steady debate. While the baby box is in operation, it is the hope that many people will think of the baby box as a place where babies are protected, not abandoned, and realize the importance of life.
By Kim Seong Ju, cub-reporter email@example.com
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