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Audience trends

Change in children’s average daily discretionary time by selected activity, 1995 and 2007

Between 1995 and 2007, there have been changes in the way children choose to spend their free time1. Non-media activities recorded the sharpest increase, with time spent hanging out with friends rising from 19 minutes on average per day to 46 minutes, and physical activity up from 29 to 48 minutes.

Media-based activities that increased were watching video (VHS and DVDs), listening to recorded music and time spent playing computer or console games. Despite maintaining the largest share of children’s discretionary time, television was the only selected activity to record a significant fall since 1995, down an average of 11 minutes per day.

Changing habits have resulted in boys, on average, watching 20 minutes less television than they did in 1995, while girls watched just 3 minutes less. Boys and girls watched the same amount of video – 9 or 10 minutes more per day in 2007 than in 1995. However, boys played 53 minutes of computer/console games daily in 2007 – nearly twice the amount they played in 1995 – whereas girls played for 23 minutes, up just 1 minute. Both girls and boys listened to more recorded music in 2007, 24 minutes and 17 minutes respectively.

  Average hours per day1
1995 2007
Boys Girls Total Boys Girls Total
More time spent in 2007 than 1995
Hanging out 0:16 0:23 0:19 0:43 0:48 0:46
Physical activity 0:37 0:22 0:29 0:50 0:45 0:48
Reading, drawing, writing letters 0:15 0:31 0:23 0:26 0:28 0:27
Video (DVD/VHS) 0:13 0:16 0:14 0:23 0:23 0:23
Recorded music 0:10 0:16 0:13 0:17 0:24 0:21
Video/computer games (includes online games against other players) 0:29 0:22 0:27 0:53 0:23 0:39
Less time spent in 2007 than 1995
TV (free-to-air/subscription) 2:18 1:52 2:05 1:58 1:49 1:54
Little/no change
General activities/play (non-media) 0:37 0:39 0:38 0:46 0:41 0:44
Going out 0:38 0:49 0:43 0:38 0:46 0:42
Homework (any type) 0:32 0:38 0:35 0:30 0:37 0:33
Radio 0:13 0:18 0:15 0:12 0:14 0:13

Source: Compiled by Screen Australia using data published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in Media and Communications in Australian Families, 2007, and data published by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) in Families and Electronic Entertainment, 1995.

Notes:
Based on samples of households with children aged 8-17.

1. Excludes activities conducted during school hours.

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