4901.0 - Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2006   
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December 15, 2006
Embargoed 11:30am (AEDT)

What kids do when they're not at school - it's not just TV

Most Australian children are active, with 63% playing organised sport and 71% visiting a cultural venue or event outside of school, according to the latest figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Nearly two in three (63%) children played organised sport in the 12 months to April 2006. Over two-thirds (71%) visited a library, museum, art gallery or performing arts event during the same period.

One-third (33%) were involved in at least one of the surveyed cultural activities - playing musical instruments, dancing, singing and drama. Over the same period, 92% of children used a computer and an estimated 65% accessed the Internet.

Organised cultural activities were twice as popular with girls (44%) than boys (22%). Playing a musical instrument was of interest to both girls (22%) and boys (18%). Amongst girls dancing was also popular (23%). Boys (69%) were more likely than girls (58%) to participate in organised sport. Outdoor soccer, swimming and Australian Rules football were the most popular organised sports for boys, while swimming and netball were most popular with girls.

Children born in non-English speaking countries were less likely to participate in organised sport or cultural activities (56% participated) than Australian born children (74%). Participation rates were also lower for children in one-parent families (64% participated) than children in couple families (75%). Children whose parents were not employed also had lower participation (51%) than children with at least one employed parent (77%).

In the two school weeks before interview, children also found time to participate in other activities such as watching TV, videos or DVDs (97%); homework (83%); reading for pleasure (74%); bike riding (68%); playing computer or electronic games (64%); and art and craft activities (49%). While boys were more likely than girls to play computer or electronic games (77%), girls were more likely to read (80%).

Children who watched TV, videos or DVDs spent an average of 20 hours doing so during the two week reference period.

Between 2000 and 2006, participation in organised sport by girls has risen from 52% to 58%, compared with a rise for boys from 66% to 69%.

Further details can be found in Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2006 (cat. no. 4901.0).