ABS releases after school insights
Approximately 90 per cent of Australian children are looking at screens each week – and most of them are engaging for ten hours or more each week – according to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The report examines the activities children engage in outside of school hours, with screen-based activities being the most popular, followed by reading for pleasure, ABS Director of Education, Training and Culture Statistics Michelle Ducat said.
The ABS findings will likely be of interest to those working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, providing outside of school hours (OSHC) care. Most children spent less than five hours reading each week, considerably less than the number of hours spent engaging with a screen.
Screen-based activities were defined as watching television, using the internet, or playing screen-based games – either on a console, or via a smart phone or tablet. Ms Ducat said the ABS also looked at creative activities pursued outside of school hours, such as dancing, arts and crafts, finding that, overall, 63 per cent of Australian children participated in a creative activity.
Those children living in the highest income households had a creative activity participation rate of 75 per cent, while children living in lower income households were less likely to have a creative pursuit, with a participation rate of 55 per cent.
Older children were less likely to be engaged in a creative pursuit, or to read for pleasure, with 57 per cent of 12-14 year olds pursuing a creative outlet after school, compared with 67 per cent of 5-8 year olds. 73 per cent of older children (12-14 years) read for pleasure after school, compared with 80 per cent of their 5-8 year old peers.
Australia’s most creatively engaged children reside in Tasmania, where 74 per cent of children join in at least one activity after school, compared to the national average of 63 per cent.