War in Ukraine Stirs Up Emotions in Young People – Attention Must be Paid to Hatred Toward Russians

Over five hundred children and young people took part in an empathy study concerning emotions toward the war in Ukraine. The results of this study, conducted by the Asikkala Municipality and NayaDaya Inc., also reveal the root causes for the emotions and their effects on behavior.

Social sustainability during war

In the study, 541 children and young people from Asikkala Municipality primary school system, between 1st and 9th grades, expressed their emotions and gave reasons behind their emotions toward the war in Ukraine. The most common emotions were sadness, fear, hate, interest, disappointment, compassion, and anger.


The reasons behind the emotions included suffering and death of innocent Ukrainians as well as the threat of the war spreading to Finland. Many responses also underlined the absurdity, incomprehensibility, and injustice of war.


Among the children and young people, the war also evokes hatred and aggression toward President Putin, Russia, and the Russians.


"Over two-thirds of the children and young people expressed negative emotions or compassion toward the war in Ukraine. The reasoning reveals their ability to concretely internalize the purpose of the war. Many of the emotions are crippling and are necessarily not visible to the outside world. Some of the experiences indicate even aggressive behavior. The consequences may turn out to be unfortunate for the Russian children and youth living in Finland", says CEO Timo Järvinen from empathy analytics company NayaDaya Inc.


"The study shows that in our schools we ought to pay attention to the thoughts and emotions evoked by the war in Ukraine. Students will not necessarily bring the topic up by themselves by asking questions, for example. The results indicate that the effects of war live in their minds, regardless. Discussion is needed so the children’s worries, fears, and feelings of hatred become visible and are taken care of. Especially, we must prevent the Russian children from becoming targets of stigmatizing and bullying", highlights Director of Education Petri Haapanen from Asikkala Municipality.


Students’ emotions toward education and the school community are regularly studied in all schools in Asikkala Municipality. Similarly, the school faculty and staff are asked about their experiences in relation to their work and work community. The empathy analytics, which is based on emotions, science, and data, also reveals the impact emotions have on peoples’ behavior and engagement.


”Asikkala Municipality aims to be a forerunner in promoting wellbeing. Hearing out children’s and young people’s emotions and openly discussing the study results is always sustainable way to act and especially so in a state of emergency such as Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Empathy, prosocial behavior, and psychological safety are our assets amid uncertainty and worry”, says Mayor Rinna Ikola-Norrbacka from Asikkala Municipality.


More information:

Petri Haapanen, Director of Education, tel. +358 44 778 0430, petri.haapanen@asikkala.fi

Timo Järvinen, CEO, NayaDaya Inc., tel. + 358 40 505 7745, timo.jarvinen@nayadaya.com


The close-to-nature municipality of Asikkala, with a population of 8,100, is located in the embrace of Lake Päijänne and Lake Vesijärvi. Vääksy Municipal Center is known for its old Vääksy villa history and beautiful canal environment. A diverse range of services, a comprehensive school network, vibrant villages and rugged waterways make Asikkala a unique place to live. The benefits offered by Asikkala are enjoyed by local residents, leisure residents and local companies. More information https://www.asikkala.fi


NayaDaya Inc. empowers companies and organizations to manage customer and employee experiences, especially sustainability experiences, through Empathy Analytics™. Via emotions, science, and data, the unique method focuses on engaging people and preventing customer and employee loss. By stepping into the shoes of people, it’s possible to reveal what is significant, to predict behavior, and to target actions and communications. Empathy is a powerful way to make decisions in order to create value, commitment, successful transformations, and sustainable, profitable growth. Further information at www.nayadaya.com.