New research has revealed that nine-year-olds are less likely to be involved in leisure activities such as sports and culture than they were a decade ago.
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) published a report on Monday that looked at the lives of nine-year-olds and how this has changed over the past 10 years, in terms of their relationships with family and friends, entertainment and school experiences.
It found that the number of children participating in sports dropped from 44 to 34 percent almost every day. There is also a noticeable drop in participation in cultural activities, such as music or dance lessons, from 47 to 44 percent.
The share of nine-year-olds who have their own mobile phone has increased significantly, from 44 to 54 percent.
“Cell phone ownership is associated with less time spent reading and less engagement in cultural activities,” the report said.
The research was based on the data of the study “Growing up in Ireland”, comparing nine years in 2007 and 2008. with the same age in 2017 and 2018. children. It was also found that the profile of children and their families changed during this period.
Parents are more likely to have degrees, families are linguistically and culturally diverse, and the number of children with illnesses or disabilities increases from 11 to 24 percent.
The study found that both gender and social and economic factors have a significant impact on the social world and life of children.
Girls have closer and less conflictual relationships with their parents than boys, but they have smaller friendship groups and see friends less often. They are more likely to read for pleasure and engage in cultural activities, but less likely to do sports. They also spend less time on digital devices than boys.
Girls are more positive about school but less positive about math, and the gender gap in math attitudes widens over time.
The study shows that where families are under financial stress, parent-child conflict is more common and children tend to have smaller friendship groups. Children from better-off families are more likely to play sports. The influence of social background on reading for pleasure becomes more pronounced over time, and daily reading declines for all children except those whose parents have graduated.
The author of the report is Prof. Emer Smyth said there were “worrying trends” in children’s involvement in sports, cultural activities and reading.
“Subsidized provision of sports and cultural activities for disadvantaged groups could encourage participation,” said Prof. “Continued efforts by schools and libraries will be crucial in trying to reverse the decline in reading for pleasure among many groups of children.”
Children’s Minister Roderick O’Gorman described the investigation as important.
“The report’s findings that gender and social background differences in children’s activities appear early and tend to persist highlight the importance of early learning and care in enabling girls and boys to engage in a range of engaging activities across social groups,” he said.