A growing number of parents hire professional child carers to look after their children while they are at work. Normally parents who work late turn to neighbors or relatives to look after their children, but more and more are turning to professional help.
Although fees differ by region, they now range from W12,000 to W15,000 an hour (US$1=W1,135). Many parents put out job ads themselves instead of going through agencies, even if that means spending more money. Some parents turn to private security companies amid some high-profile crimes against kids.
One staffer at a private security company in Seoul said, "We get a growing number of inquiries from parents of elementary school children and female high school students."
Bodyguards who escort youngsters from school or childcare facility to their doorsteps charge W17,000 for the first 3 km and then W2,500 for each additional kilometer. Demand has soared to such an extent that companies have to turn customers away.
A growing number of parents are also taking classes on how to deal with kidnappers or what to do if their child goes missing. According Child Fund Korea, the number of parents applying for classes rose from just 11 in 2016 to 849 this year.
Lee Ji-eun (32), a teacher at a childcare facility, said, "These days, parents are no longer telling their kids to watch out for strangers but cautioning them more specifically by telling them not to follow anybody other than their parents or always inform their parents before going somewhere."