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Children are enjoying their leisure time more

Fewer children are experiencing being bullied or feeling left out while participating in leisure activities. This is according to a new study on children’s well-being during leisure activities. Despite this positive development, however, every sixth child is still experiencing being teased or bullied – and for one in every 10 children, this leads to them stopping the activity.

Children have become better at interacting with each other when they meet to play handball, swim or do gymnastics. This is according to a new study on children’s well-being while participating in leisure activities conducted by CUR, the Danish centre for youth studies, for The Mary Foundation and and MH24 – Foreningen Mikkel Mod Mobning (Mikkel Against Bullying Foundation).

The study “Tweens, fritid og trivsel” (Tweens, leisure time and well-being) shows that fewer children in Grades 3–6 are being teased, bullied or excluded from a leisure activity compared to equivalent figures from 2013. While 26.5 per cent of children experienced teasing and exclusion back then, the proportion of children affected today is 16.4 per cent.

The report also shows that almost all children – over 95 per cent – look forward to their leisure activities. Nine out of every ten children indicate that they generally get on well with their team mates. That said, some children are still severely affected by teasing and bullying. Almost one in ten children (9.4 per cent) say that they have stopped participating in a leisure activity due to bullying.

Despite the positive development, the fact that 9.4 per cent stop participating in a leisure activity because of mistreatment should spark a renewed focus on this issue. The study shows that the ill-treatment most often occurs in situations where adults are present, which is why an obvious next step in efforts to foster well-being for everyone participating in leisure activities would be to include the theme of well-being as a natural part of basic coaching and management training,” said Søren Østergaard, manager of CUR, the Danish centre for youth studies.

Only 14.8 per cent of the children in the study have experienced talking about bullying during a leisure activity, while 82.4 per cent have talked about the issue in school – which paints a clear picture:

People naturally tend to connect well-being and teaching with schools. The concept of fostering well-being during leisure activities is still new and can easily be overlooked. We have a tendency to believe that positive relationships among children happen on their own when they get together voluntarily, and we often don’t recognise the mistreatment, because the children stop going to their activity without saying why,” said Director of The Mary Foundation, Helle Østergaard.

The study shows that one in every four children regard it as acceptable not to want to be on the same team as someone who is not as good as they are, and 14.5 per cent believe that it is okay to say negative things to team mates who make mistakes. The study also touches on children’s well-being in general, beyond their leisure time – including loneliness, stress and bullying, as well as the children’s relationship to social media.

Facts

About the study “Tweens, fritid og trivsel” (Tweens, leisure time and well-being):

The study was conducted by CUR, the Danish centre for youth studies, for The Mary Foundation and and MH24 – Foreningen Mikkel Mod Mobning (Mikkel Against Bullying Foundation). The results are based on a questionnaire provided to 1,450 students in Grades 3–6 and 681 parents from 13 schools across Denmark. A further 24 students and 12 parents were also interviewed. The data was collected during the autumn of 2017.

CUR also studied children’s experiences during leisure activities (for Grade 3–5 students) in 2013, in collaboration with The Mary Foundation, for the report “Børneliv version 2.0 – perspektiver på tweens, fritidsliv og trivsel” (Life as a child version 2.0 – perspectives of tweens, leisure and well-being). The studies are comparable, since many of the questions used in the new study are the same as those included in the 2013 study.

The most important new figures on children’s well-being while participating in leisure activities.

  • Fewer children than in the past – just over one-sixth or 16.4% compared to 26.5% in 2013 – are experiencing being teased, bullied or excluded while participating in a leisure activity. On the opposite side of the scale, 83.6% of the children indicate that they have not been teased, bullied or excluded. In 2013, only 73.5% of the children questioned were able to say the same thing. Read more in Table 37.
  • The number of children who have chosen to stop participating in a leisure activity due to bullying has declined. In 2013, this number was 13.8%, whereas the equivalent figure in the new study is 9.4%. Read more in Table 48.
  • A substantially larger proportion of children than in the past (72.4% compared to 52.7% in 2013) say that they do not know any children who have been teased, bullied or excluded during a leisure activity. Read more in Table 46.
  • 90.2% of the children indicate that they ‘always’ or ‘mostly’ get on well with the other children with whom they participate in the leisure activity that they spend most time doing. Conversely, this also means that one in every ten children (9.8%) rarely or only sometimes get on well with the other children when participating in the leisure activity. Read more in Table 35.
  • 95.6% of the children ‘always’ or ‘often’ look forward to their leisure activity. Read more in Table 33.
  • Children who participate in a team sport experience being teased, bullied or excluded a little more often than those who play an individual sport. Read more in Table 41. On the other hand, those who play individual sports experience loneliness more often. 36.3% of children who play individual sports indicate that they ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ experience loneliness, while the same holds true for 27.3% of children who play team sports. Read more in Table 42.
  • The children who are teased or bullied primarily experience receiving ‘nasty comments’, ‘nasty looks’ or ‘derogatory body language’ and ‘being pushed or similar’. Read more in Table 45.
  • 25.7% of the children ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ feel that it is acceptable not to want to be on the same team as someone who is not as good as they are, and 14.5% believe that it is okay to say negative things to someone who makes mistakes. Read more in Table 25.
  • The children report that they primarily talk about bullying in school and with their parents. 14.8% have talked about bullying when particpating in their leisure activity. Read more in Table 24.
  • The children regard the most important aspects of participating in a leisure activity as ‘having fun’, ‘improving’ and ‘spending time with friends’. ‘Winning’ is least important. Read more in Table 20.
  • 87.9% participate in a leisure activity on a regular basis. 12.1% do not participate in any leisure activity. Read more in Table 18.

Download the full study (in Danish only).

Initiatives to promote well-being in leisure activities

In 2013, The Mary Foundation launched “Klubfidusen” (Club tricks) for football in collaboration with Save the Children Denmark, the Danish Football Association (DBU) and the Danish foundation TrygFonden. In 2017, The Mary Foundation and MH24 – Foreningen Mikkel Mod Mobning (Mikkel Against Bullying Foundation) collaborated with Save the Children Denmark and TrygFonden to introduce Antibulli (Anti-bully), which is an anti-bullying tool for handball coaches. Antibulli combines knowledge of children’s well-being with knowledge about the game of handball. For more information, visit antibulli.dk.

The organisations behind the report

Center for Ungdomsstudier (CUR), the Danish centre for youth studies, is a practice-oriented research centre that focuses on youth culture, values and clubs and associations. For more information, visit cur.nu.

The Mary Foundation works to combat social isolation and has had bullying and well-being as one of its three focus areas since 2007. The Mary Foundation identifies, develops and runs its own projects in collaboration with relevant partners. For more information, visit maryfonden.dk.

MH24 – Foreningen Mikkel Mod Mobning (Mikkel Against Bullying Foundation) aims to tackle bullying and increase well-being and tolerance among children and young people in sporting, cultural and social groups. MH24 was founded in 2015 by the handball player Mikkel Hansen. For more information, visit mh24.dk.

Når pædagoger, lærere og forældre sammen sætter fokus på det gode børnefællesskab og på at lære børn og unge, at mobning er uacceptabelt, så virker det...
Kronprinsessen hyldede partnerskabet og brede alliancer i arbejdet med at bekæmpe komplekse sociale...
Vores samarbejde med MH24 - Mikkel Mod Mobning har knopskudt, og vi har netop lanceret Antibulli-prisen...
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