New research, conducted by the ESRI and funded by the Arts Council, shows that young people become less involved in cultural activities as they prepare for the Leaving Certificate and leave school. Using data from the Growing Up in Ireland study, the report charts a decline in reading for pleasure and taking music/drama/dance lessons between 13 and 17 years of age.
The findings point to striking differences by gender and family background. Young women are much more likely than young men to read for pleasure, to make music (singing/playing an instrument) and to take part in structured cultural activities (such as music/drama clubs). Young men are much more likely to spend time playing computer games. Young people from more advantaged families (with parents with degrees or in professional/managerial jobs) are more likely to read, make music and participate in structured cultural activities, and less likely to be involved in digital culture (such as computer games and watching TV, especially on weekdays).
Reading for pleasure and taking part in music/drama clubs contributes to how well young people do at school. Unequal participation in the arts and culture is therefore likely to contribute to educational inequalities.
Other key findings include: