Too much study puts 'life on hold'
Balance: Sport is an integral part of students' extracurricular life. Photo: Anna Kucera
Given the choice, children in NSW would forgo television and spend more time playing sports and hanging out with family, according to a landmark report.
The NSW Commission for Children and Young People report found children are overworked and overscheduled.
Nearly two-thirds of children said they cannot do the types of activities they would like after school and 39 per cent said homework was getting in the way.
Commissioner for Children and Young People Megan Mitchell said children should be given a say in how their time is managed.
''They didn't want to do particularly risky or dangerous things,'' she said. ''We want children at this age to develop as people and that means they need to be able to identify what things are important to them.''
The study, which was devised and run by children who are part of the commission's Young People Advisory Group, surveyed more than 1100 children aged nine to 15.
''There are lots of changes for children at that time,'' Ms Mitchell said. ''They get a lot more responsibility and they are starting to seek out their independence.''
The report also found that about 7 per cent of children could not do the activities they wanted because of cost, some reporting that distance, or simply being ''not allowed'' got in the way.
''Parents might have stopped them because they couldn't afford it, or they didn't feel the activity was safe, or they couldn't organise transport,'' said Ms Mitchell, who will launch the report on Wednesday at an event held by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth.
Abbey Lenton, a year 11 student at St Johns Park High School in Greenfield Park, was on the advisory group that developed and implemented the study. She said the group recommended schools think carefully about homework.
''Schools should consider how it does put a child's life on hold,'' she said. ''It's getting ridiculous and it does have a real impact.''
The study found girls were most affected by homework - about 60 per cent of girls do homework, compared with 42 per cent of boys.
Brandon Lam, also on the advisory group, said parents should talk to children about their activities.
He said undertaking the study had given him a thirst to do more research.
''The experience was really enjoyable and we feel more entitled to participate now,'' he said.