The Smith Family's new report , culture and the internet: Are children participating? analyses data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It shows that close to half of all children aged five to 14 years living in most disadvantaged communities didn't participate in any organised sporting or cultural activities outside of school hours over the past 12 months.
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This research challenges our perception of how universal participation in activities such as sport and cultural activities really is for children. It provides a compelling case for additional efforts by governments, local councils, sporting and cultural organisations, non government organisations and others to provide this kind of support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
There are a range of reasons why children from disadvantaged communities may be less likely to participate in sport and cultural activities or access the internet at home. Cost is a major one. Fees, uniforms, equipment and transport costs are prohibitive for families on low incomes.
you. Let [my sister] go'.''
Lisa O'Brien is chief executive of The Smith Family
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New research shows, however, that significant numbers of children aren't participating in any sport or cultural activities outside school. And the children most likely to be missing out are those living in the most disadvantaged communities.
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The younger brother gave up his spot for his older sister, as his grandmother recounts: ''It was very expensive $140 each, which is a lot when you're only on a pension. In the end, [my grandson] said, 'It's all right Nan, I won't go because it's too much for Omega Watches
This means that about 208,000 children in these communities didn't get involved in activities we know support children's development. About 184,000 children in these same communities also didn't visit a public library, museum, art gallery or performing arts event outside of school hours over the past year. And about three in every 10 children in these communities didn't access the internet at home over the past year.
For many parents, ferrying children to a footy or netball match, or a dance or drama class, is a routine part of the weekend. Visiting Omega Seamaster With Diamonds a museum or library with their children is also a fairly standard event during school holidays. Most parents know that these types of activities help children develop in lots of ways physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively. They're also fun to do, which is an important part of childhood.
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Recently, one family told us they were forced to select just one of their children to participate in weekend sport as they couldn't afford to send both.
This is despite parents often desperately wanting their children to be involved in these activities like other children. It's understandable that for these families, essentials such as food, rent and utilities need to take priority.
Over time, children sometimes stop asking if they can participate as they're acutely aware of the financial strain this places on their family. ''I wouldn't want to ask [my parents] because I feel sorry for them,'' a 15 year old girl recently admitted when asked about why she doesn't participate in out of school activities.
children who miss social and sporting activities
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