South Korea: New government campaign against 'child-free zones'

In South Korea, the government is launching a new campaign against "No Kids Zones", cafes, restaurants and shops that no longer accept children. A phenomenon that has been multiplying in recent years. Although the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs intends to reconcile adults and children, these "No Kids Zones" remain quite popular.

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This photo taken on July 19, 2023, shows a "No Kids Zone" sign on a glass door of a café in Gimpo, South Korea. AFP - JUNG YEON-JE

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Seoul, Célio Fioretti

It is indicated at the entrance of the café, this establishment is a "child-free zone". A sign that has become almost habitual in South Korea in recent years. For some clients, it's a selection criterion when they want to go out. This is the case of this young Korean who came to work in a café.

« I prefer the quiet atmosphere of a café. If it's so that there are children screaming in the middle, it bothers me. That's normal, isn't it? »

He is not the only one to share this opinion, like this father for example: "I haven't quite thought about it, but I can understand it. If a child starts running between the tables and disturbs the other customers, I understand that we might want to ban them. My child is old enough to know how to behave, so I don't have a problem with that."

For the owners, making their establishment a "child-free zone" is above all about avoiding problems and complaints from customers, as this café owner explains: "It is the responsibility of parents to supervise their children so that they are calm, but very often this is not the case. And then, if the child falls and gets hurt, that's my responsibility."

The Ministry of Health and Social Services plans to launch a communication campaign in the near future to encourage schools to abandon "child-free zones". At the same time, the government hopes to stem the decline of South Korea's population by making South Korea an easier country for families. In 2023, the country had less than one child per woman.

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Read on the same topics:

  • South Korea
  • Children's rights
  • Society