Teenagers’ leisures (Belgians' survey)

Teenagers’ leisures (Belgians' survey)

Children usually choose their leisure activities according to their parents’ schedule and to the cultural values they inherited from their family. But what about teenagers?

A survey carried out among 300 teenage (from 14 to 18) students of our school enables us to set up the following table. The students were asked to choose from a list ten activities they regularly practice and to classify them in order of preference.

Teenagers 14-15 ans
meeting friends 2. going to parties 3. going online 4.watching TV 5. listening to music 6. doing sport 7. going shopping 8. going to the cinema 9. playing computer games 10. going for a drink.

Teenagers 16-17 ans
going for a drink 2. playing sport 3. meeting friends 4. playing computer 5. going online 6. watching TV 7. listening to music 8. going shopping 9. going to the cinema 10. reading magazines

Teenagers 17-18 ans
going for a drink 2. going to parties 3. playing sport 4. meeting friends 5. going to the cinema 6. listening to music 7. going online 8. watching TV 9. playing computer games 10. playing instruments

It’s obvious that their need to socialise and to have fun grows according to their age. Teenagers not only go to pubs or clubs, but also to sports halls (basketball, volleyball, dance…) and sports fields (football.).

Conversely, as they acquire autonomy, they tend to turn away from passive activities. Watching TV, for example, which comes 4th among the 14-15 year-old, gets the 6th place among the 16-17 year-old and only the 8th place among the 17-18.

The CRIOC - « Centre de Recherche et d’Information des Organisations de Consommateurs » (Centre for the research and information of consumers’ organisation) – interviewed 2642 French-speaking Belgian teenagers and observed that one teen out of four answers ‘sport’ when asked about what he/she likes doing. 54% of the girls and 80% of the boys from 9 to 18 say they do some sport in their free time. 80% of the 10-year-old children do sport against 45% of the 15 year-old. At 16-17, the percentage rises to 60%.
According to our survey, boys are more fond of sports but also more painstaking than girls. They like doing sport until they get exhausted and aren’t afraid of danger.
15-year-old girls seem the least interested in doing regularly sport. Sports teachers often complain about their lack of motivation!

Modern dance is the most practiced sport (among girls!) in our area. It can undoubtedly convey a positive image to others. It is at the same time an individual and collective activity, combining sport with culture. What’s more, it makes them feel free.
Horse-riding and basketball come next, which is no surprise as we live in a semi-rural area, teeming with basketball clubs.
We also notice that the interest for group activities lasts longer than for individual activities, as dancing.

The survey by the CRIOC, which was published in September 2008, also points out a difference between leisure activities for ‘the rich’ and activities for the other social classes.
75% of the teenagers from the so-called ‘higher social classes’ do some sport (and, to a lesser extent, play a music instrument) against 51% in the ‘lower social classes’.
As far as computer is concerned, it seems to attract younger teenagers (14-15 year-old) who classify it in the 3rd place, more than the 16-17 year-old and the 17-18 year-old who place it respectively in the 4th and 9th position.

The teenagers’ media world (TV, video games, radio, MP3, computers, cell phones…) is of course very rich. Through chats and exchanges, computer has become a good means for self-assertion and socialisation. The youth rules aver the ‘computer world’, which explains why parents often give up controlling its content.

Most of the young people interviewed reckon they get headaches and sometimes feel dizzy, they also complain about smarting eyes after having played (worked?) too long on the computer. Some of them ‘play’ for three or four hours running. Others admit they spend the night playing and even dream about it during the day, which makes it impossible for them to concentrate in class. All the teenagers claim they feel aggressiveness towards the one who interrupts the computer game.

Another means for self-assertion and socialisation is the cell phone, called ‘GSM’ in Belgium.
Four young out of five owe one. At school teachers have to punish teenagers so that they keep their phone in their bag, away from any temptation!

Survey from the CRIOC, among 2642 teenagers
Percentage of teenagers (9 -18 year-old) who do this activity:

1. Watching TV (96 %), 2. Listening to music (92%), 3. Watching DVD’s (88%: girls 92%, boys 84%), 4. Playing sport (67%: girls 54%, boys 80%), 5. Visiting an amusement park (64%: girls 45%, boys 83%), 6. Playing video games (63%: girls 44%, boys 82%), 7. Having a drink (62%), 8. Clubbing, going to parties (46%: girls 51%, boys 41%), 9. Visiting museums, exhibitions (29%), 10. Joining a youth movement (28%: girls 24%, boys 32%),
11. Playing music, an instrument (24%).

The young people’s nights out
We live in a mostly rural region: consequently, our young people have different types of going outs than young people in cities: neither clubs nor discotheques.
Every year, our school organises a party for our last year’s students and all the young people join in. As a result, young people essentially meet at those parties, or private events on Friday or Saturday nights. They usually dance alone or in until 3 or 4 in the morning.
Except for some private parties which require smart clothes, the young people don’t need to dress up. Yet, girls wear more and more sexy clothes.
At those parties, where young people from the age of 13, 14 usually go, alcohol is a must-have. And sometimes, it goes too far: the aim is to be drunk as fast as possible! It’s the English “Binge drinking”: the young drink a mix of alcohol and energizers in order to “hold” as long as possible … the adults try to supervise those parties with consciousness-raising campaigns against drugs and alcohol. Moreover, policemen surround those events, where hundreds of young people go.
The young people’s favourite music is still techno and RNB, which is not very favourable to communication: it allows them to be united in trances which sometimes go too far.
Some young people from this region also go out in town: they go to the centre of Liège in “Le Carré”, where they can find a lot of cafés which are open all night long, they go back home in the morning… there’s an important animation in that neighbourhood, especially during the Saint Nicolas’ student party, at the saint Toré, another student party which takes place at the end of the exams. By the Pupils from the “Social Sciences” option - Belgium

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