Disadvantaged Kids Missing Out on Sport
19 June 2013 at 1:42 pm
Children living in disadvantaged communities are being deprived of sporting and cultural activities, according to new research.
The study: Sport, culture and the internet: Are Australian children participating?, conducted by The Smith Family, found a “significant number” of children were missing out on activities which are critical to children’s development.
It highlights how involvement varies according to the type of community in which a child lives. But the report showed almost half of all children living in Australia’s most disadvantaged communities did not participate in any sport or cultural activities outside of school hours over the past 12 months.
The report revealed 41.6 per cent 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 about 18 per cent of children living in the most advantaged communities.
The Smith Family’s Head of Research and Advocacy, Anne Hampshire said research proved involvement in sports and cultural activities provided “multiple benefits” for children.
“These include better physical and mental health, increased confidence, self-esteem and a sense of identity,” she said.
“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 90.5 percent of children living in Australia’s most advantaged areas accessed the internet at home compared to 67.8 percent of those 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,” Hampshire said.
“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. When children continually miss out on vital educational and social opportunities, the long-term impact can be profound.”
Hampshire said the research emphasised the importance of increasing the involvement of disadvantaged children in sports and cultural activities and for increasing their families’ access to the internet at home.