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Teenagers Involvement with the Arts

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Teenagers Involvement with the ArtsESRI

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:

  • The most common cultural activities in which young people engage for fun or relaxation several times a week are listening to music (87 per cent), surfing the internet (86 per cent and singing/playing a musical instrument (23 per cent).
  • Less than one in six (14 per cent) of young people read for pleasure several times a week.
  • Almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of 17-year-olds had taken part in art, drama, dance or music clubs/groups/rehearsals in the year prior to the survey.
  • The vast majority of young people spend at least some time watching TV/films, with the proportion watching TV for two or more hours a day almost doubling at the weekend (to 37 per cent). Less than half of young people play computer games regularly, with time spent on gaming also increasing at weekend (with 9 per cent during the week and 18 per cent at the weekends spending two or more hours per day).
  • There is a particularly large decline in reading for pleasure over time; the proportion who never read increases from 19 per cent at 13 years to 53 per cent at 17 years.

Click here to download report ...

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