WE’RE a pretty kind nation – but mainly to our own kind.
A survey commissioned by the University of Tasmania’s School of Social Sciences, as part of nationwide research by the Australian National University concluded that Australians are “overwhelmingly committed to kindness as a moral value, and that assumptions that we are becoming an unkind society are unfounded”..
The study found that 95% of respondents believe that it is quite or very important to be kind to one another; 97% agreed that they see themselves as a kind person; 90% reported performing a kind act at least once a week and 82% say most Australians are quite or very kind.
And 51% said they were kind because “it’s who I am” while only 12% of respondents said it was because they like to be seen as kind, it may benefit them or that they are required to be kind.
The survey found attitudes varied according to the generation. For instance, those born after 1986 committed more acts of kindness to strangers, but thought overall this country was not a kind place. Yet baby boomers were kinder to neighbours.
A key finding was that younger generations report being kinder than older generations, notably to strangers, The iGens (those born since 1986) are six times more likely to perform an act of kindness than baby boomers.
But they are less likely to think most Australians are kind and, in a separate analysis, only 11 per cent of iGens agree it is important to be kind to neighbours, compared with 58 per cent of Baby Boomers.
But Tasmania University’s Associate Professor Daphne Habibis said one-third of Australians felt some people were less deserving of kindness (criminals, bludgers, asylum seekers).