Around 90 per cent of Australian children are looking at screens each week, and most of them are doing so for 10 or more hours, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
ABS Director of Education, Training and Culture Statistics, Michelle Ducat, said: “Our report looks at the activities that children are doing outside school hours. Screen-based activities are the most popular, followed by reading for pleasure.”
Most children spent less than five hours reading each week, which is considerably less than the number of hours spent on screen time.
“Screen based activities include watching TV, using the Internet or playing screen-based games (including playing games on consoles and activities via smart phones or tablets),” said Ms Ducat.
“We also looked at creative activities, like dancing and art and craft. Overall, 63 per cent of Australian children participated in a creative activity.”
Children living in the highest income households had a creative activity participation rate of 75 per cent, while children in the lowest income households were less likely to participate, with a rate of 55 per cent.
Participation in creative activities was also lower for older children, with a 57 per cent participation rate for 12 to 14 year olds compared with a 67 per cent rate for 5 to 8 year olds. Reading for pleasure also declined for older age groups, where the 12 to 14 year old participation rate was 73 per cent compared with 80 per cent for 5 to 8 year olds.
Tasmanian children were the most culturally engaged, with 99 per cent of children participating in at least one cultural activity compared with the national rate of 96 per cent. Similarly, Tasmanian children were the most likely to engage in creative activities, at a rate of 74 per cent compared with the national rate of 63 per cent.