Sociological Studies of Children and Youth

ISBN: 978-0-76230-967-2, eISBN: 978-1-84950-180-4

ISSN: 1537-4661

Publication date: 31 July 2003


The average American child spends more time “playing”1 than doing any other activity besides sleeping and attending school (watching television comes in next, with children gradually replacing play time with TV time as they grow older) (Hofferth & Sandberg, 2001a, b). In fact, free, unstructured time makes up between 20 and 50% of children’s waking hours2 (Hofferth & Sandberg, 2001a, b; Larson & Richards, 1989). Nonetheless, sociologists currently know very little about how children’s free time use influences their well-being. Although scholars, teachers, and parents all have strong opinions about the types of free-time activities that they think are “best” for children, recent studies of the association between children’s time use and their well-being have failed to find consistent associations (Hofferth & Sandberg, 2001a, b; McHale, Crouter & Tucker, 2001).


Chin, T. and Phillips, M. (2003), "JUST PLAY? A FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYZING CHILDREN’S TIME USE", Sociological Studies of Children and Youth (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 149-178. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1537-4661(03)09009-3

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