Graciousness Survey 2018 Highlights

September 03, 2018
  • Parents are increasingly concerned regarding online and social media etiquette
  • Making a meaningful impact and material success considered as important to the younger individuals in society, with such importance, particularly for material success, tapering off with age

Singapore, 3 September 2018 – Singapore residents remain generally positive about the state of graciousness and kindness here.

This is according to the last Graciousness Survey commissioned by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), which tracks experiences and perceptions of kindness and graciousness. The annual survey also provides SKM with insights on various community topics in Singapore, which help to guide SKM’s focus, strategies and plans in the coming year.

The study polled a demographically representative sample of 3,120 respondents via face-to-face interviews over two waves; from August to September 2017 and from January to February 2018.

Parents concern shifts towards online etiquette

One key community issue that SKM has focused on, together with the Ministry of Education, is the inculcation of positive social values. In addition to its usual resources provided to schools, SKM has increasingly tried to link the role of parents in such upbringing. Overall, the survey indicates that parents agree they should play the primary role in educating their children about moral values. Having a lack of time with their children remained as the largest obstacle for most parents, especially for parents of older children.

The survey also revealed parental concerns for online and social media etiquette which, coupled with the lack of time spent together, proved to be a key challenge in inculcating positive values. The survey reveals that parents are increasingly turning to “in-the-moment” opportunities to teach their children well, and seeking undefined accompanying resources for such, instead of the usual books and printed materials.

Leading by example still ranked as the most effective method to teach kindness. On the other hand, when the child has done an unkind act, that is deemed to be the most appropriate moment to teach graciousness.

Meaningful social impact is important

New for Graciousness Survey 2018, SKM asked about the importance of making a meaningful impact. Youths generally ranked “making social impact” more important than the more senior respondents.

However, material success was also considered important, understandably also among the younger ones. The importance of material success declines among the seniors, as does making a meaningful impact to a slightly lesser degree. SKM views this as an indication that seniors can be better tapped into, to engage in meaningful societal and pro-social initiatives.

When cross-referencing with their behaviours, SKM found that those who rated material success as not important are also more likely to have done an act of kindness. This could be attributed to the desire to make a social impact within their own capacity.

“It is definitely encouraging that, young and old, Singapore has the desire to make a positive impact” says Dr William Wan, General Secretary of SKM. “Though we may show the differences between the age groups, our collective understanding is that Singaporeans have that inner desire to be kind to each other. Our challenge at SKM is to make kindness and being gracious as a badge of honour. With our close partnerships with the government and NGOs, we certainly strive for a kinder Singapore that can stand tall and Be Greater.”

Some behaviours identified as opportunities for improvement

The survey found that more received, did and witnessed acts of kindness and graciousness in 2018 as compared to 2017. However, more were perceived to be exhibiting a “me-first” mentality.

Commenting on this, Dr Wan said, “A stable trend for something as malleable as kindness is always a good sign for us at SKM. We believe that this isn’t the result with which we stop our campaigns. At the same time, we remain on the lookout for indicators that may be of concern, such as the developing “me-first” mentality. We are encouraged to further push on and achieve greater kindness and graciousness collectively as a nation.”

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