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Sport and cultural activities out of reach:

A report for the Smith Family confirms ABS data that some children are missing out on sport & cultural activities.
By Motherpedia
Date: June 20 2013
Tags: sport, children,
Editor Rating:

A new report from the Smith Family confirms that significant numbers of children living in disadvantaged communities are not participating in sport and cultural activities that are critical to their development. This is an issue of concern that we have previously written about.

The report, Sport, culture and the internet: Are Australian children participating? uses unpublished data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Survey of Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities and highlights how involvement varies according to the type of community in which a child lives.

The report shows that almost half of all children living in Australia’s most disadvantaged communities, or around 208,000 children, did not participate in any sport or cultural activities outside of school hours over the last 12 months. This compares with a non-participation rate of just one in ten children living in the most advantaged communities.

In the last 12 months, two-fifths (41.6%) of children living in Australia’s most disadvantaged communities, did not visit a library, museum, art gallery or performing arts event outside of school hours, compared with around one-fifth (18.2%) of children living in the most advantaged communities.

Commenting on the data, The Smith Family’s Head of Research and Advocacy, Anne Hampshire said sport and cultural activities provide many benefits for children.  

“These include better physical and mental health, increased confidence, self-esteem and a sense of identity. Involvement creates a sense of belonging and connection with their peers and it helps enhance a child’s belief in what they can achieve.”

The research also found that 90.5% of children living in Australia’s most advantaged areas accessed the internet at home compared with only two-thirds, or 67.8%, of children living in the most disadvantaged communities.

“The costs associated with participation, such as fees, uniforms, equipment, transportation and internet connection are significant, so it’s understandable that families prioritise expenditure on essentials such as food, rent and utilities.

“However, in today’s world, a child’s participation in sport or cultural activities and their ability to access the internet at home, are critical for their overall education and development; they’re not just nice to have,” said Ms Hampshire.

“When children continually miss out on vital educational and social opportunities, the long-term impact can be profound.

“This research provides a compelling case for additional efforts aimed at increasing the involvement of disadvantaged children in sports and cultural activities and for increasing their families’ access to the internet at home,” concluded Ms Hampshire.

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