New Report Sheds Light on Students’ Time Use

Published on
02/29/2024
Image of a row of kids sitting on a couch holding video game controllers

 

Did you know that 2 in 3 Fairfax County students reported participating in school and non-school-based activities at least once a month?

The ways that youth spend their time outside of school have lasting impacts on their lives. Extracurricular involvement offers many benefits to young people. Meanwhile, rest and leisure are vital for their overall health and development.

The newly published report, "How Do Fairfax County Youth Spend Their Time?", explores trends in how our youth spend their time on extracurricular, work-related and civic activities over the years, and how they may have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also looks at rest and leisure activities such as sleep, screen time and physical activity, and examines differences across different demographic groups.

 

KEY FINDINGS

  1. The percentage of students who spent at least an hour on extracurricular activities per day dropped from 2019 to 2021. Although there was some recovery in 2022, the rates were still below pre-pandemic rates.
  2. There were disparities by race/ethnicity and food security status in the share of students who participated in extracurricular activities for at least an hour a day and in civic activities in the previous year. 
  3. The percentage of students engaging in regular physical activity for at least an hour each day was lower among female students than male students and those who identified as non-binary. It was also lower among lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students. 
  4. Fairfax County students who spent over three hours per day using electronic devices for non-schoolwork activities were less likely to engage in regular physical activity, less likely to participate in extracurricular activities and more likely to sleep less than the recommended eight hours at night, compared to those who did not spend as much time on their electronic devices.

This report also includes links to community resources available to parents and adults to support the youth. Read the full 2022 Youth Survey results for more information on the survey results. You can also read 5 Things to Know about the Youth Survey for a summary of the key findings.

 

 

SURVEY BACKGROUND

Since 2001, the Board of Supervisors and the School Board have co-sponsored the Youth Survey, which helps monitor behavior trends and changes among our youth and provides crucial information to help prioritize the focus for prevention and youth development efforts throughout the community. It is an anonymous and voluntary survey given each year to Fairfax County Public Schools students in grades 8, 10 and 12 (sixth graders take a modified, shorter survey).

The survey was administered in the fall of 2022 online. The survey was offered in eight languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese.

A total of 27,814 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade students participated, representing 64.7 percent of enrolled students. A total of 11,384 sixth-grade students participated in the sixth-grade survey, representing 84.9 percent of enrolled students.

 

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