4901.0 - Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/01/2001   
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January 18, 2001
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

What kids get up to: Lots of TV, some sport and a little arts

Virtually all Australian children (97 percent) aged 5 to 14 years watched TV or videos during their free time, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

More than half (59 percent) participated in organised sports while almost three in ten (29 percent) were involved in at least one of the four surveyed organised cultural activities in their spare time during the 12 months to April 2000.

Of all the leisure activities considered, watching TV or videos topped the list, with 97 percent of both boys and girls watching them in a two-week period during the school term. Furthermore, over half (52 percent) of the children who had watched TV or videos did so for 20 hours or more in the two-week period.

Another sedentary activity, playing electronic or computer games, was also popular among children, with more than two in three (69 percent) having played these games in the two-week period. Boys were more likely to have played electronic and computer games than girls (79 percent and 58 percent, respectively).

More than half of Australian children (59 percent) participated in organised sports in their free time, with boys (66 percent) more likely to do so than girls (52 percent).

Participation in organised sports was highest among children in the Northern Territory (66 percent) and lowest in Queensland (56 percent). In addition, participation peaked among 11 year olds (69 percent) and fell to 58 percent among 14 year olds.

The most popular organised sports for boys were outdoor soccer (20 percent of participants), swimming (13 percent) and Australian Rules football (also 13 percent). Netball was top for girls (18 percent of participants), followed by swimming (16 percent) and tennis (8 percent).

During the year ending April 2000, 29 percent of children were involved in at least one of the four organised cultural activities that were surveyed - 18 percent of children played a musical instrument, 10 percent danced, 5 percent sang and 5 percent were involved in drama activities outside of school hours.

In contrast to the results for organised sport, girls were twice as likely to have participated in organised cultural activities than boys (40 percent versus 20 percent). Children in the Northern Territory were least likely to have participated in any of these activities (22 percent), while those in the Australian Capital Territory were most likely to have done so (34 percent).



Watching TV or videos in two-week period
Playing electronic or computer games in two-week period
Organised sport in past year
Organised cultural activities in past year

Details can be found in Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2000 (cat. no. 4901.0) available at all ABS bookshops. The main findings are available on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication, contact the ABS Bookshop in your Capital city.