Israel’s youngsters find time to help their community, despite their non-stop use of technology, according to a new report by the Israel National Council for the Child.
Israeli teens log more hours than most in front of the computer, a new report finds – Photo: Getty Images
The report, handed to President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday, compared teens in 35 countries, and found that Israeli teens outstripped others in the hours logged in front of the computer. More than 28 percent of Israelis aged 11 to 15 said they played computer games for at least four hours a day. By comparison, only 3.8 percent of Swiss children said they spent that much time in front of a computer.
The report said the number of Israeli residents under the age of 18 totaled 2,682,160 at the end of 2013, a third of the population.
In 2012, 83.9 percent of Israelis aged 7 to 11 and 83.3 percent of those aged 12 to 14 surfed the Web. Among those aged 15 to 17, the figure was 97.1 percent. Some 50 percent of Israeli teens said they went online at least once every 15 minutes. According to the survey, those between the ages of 12 and 17 use Wikipedia as their primary source of reference when they do homework.
In an illustration of the centrality of mobile phones, some 90 percent of those aged 13 to 18 said they communicated with others via the WhatsApp instant messaging service. Some 50 percent of those using this service said they received more than 100 WhatsApp messages a day.
TV viewership among Israeli youth is also at a record high. Some 35.8 percent said they sit in front of the tube at least four hours a day. Only 11.7 percent said they spent at least five evenings a week with their friends.
Despite the technology being front and center, Israeli teens are still involved in their communities. The number of teenagers who volunteered on a regular basis climbed from 17.8 percent in 2004 to 46.4 percent in 2011 (these figures apply to those who were in sixth, seventh and 10th grades).
According to the report, the number of Israeli teens who are involved in criminal activities has gone down steadily. In 2013, 5 percent of all criminal suspects were minors, compared with 7.6 percent in 2012. Underage drinking is also down. In the 2012-2013 school year, only 6 percent of minors said they consumed arak, vodka, whiskey or similar products. That figure stood at 14 percent two years earlier.
Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, the head of the council, said he was encouraged by the report’s findings but added that there was still more work to do.
“When it comes to children, it’s time we stopped cutting back; it is time to invest,” he said.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=22407