Israeli 11-Year-Olds are World Champions at Watching Television


kidsAccording to a report issued by the nongovernmental National Council for Children’s Welfare, 67 percent of Israeli children aged 6-12 watch five or more hours of television a day. The report also found that more than half of the children who have an internet connection at home surf for over two hours a day. Over 34.2 percent of children in Israel live below the poverty line. The main reason for welfare intervention is financial problems. Reports of child abuse increased 67.3 percent between the years 1998 and 2007. Hospital medical staff in 2007 listed 2,281 children as victims of domestic abuse. This was a 14.7 percent rise, compared with the 1,989 children reported abused in 2000. Most cases of abuse involve negligence and physical violence.From 1970 to 2007, the total child population doubled, but the number of Muslim children tripled. By the end of 2007, statistics show that 2,408,400 children were living in Israel, making up 33.2 percent of the general population – amost exactly one third.

The People of the Book, at least in Israel, are reading less and watching television more than most of their counterparts in the western world. Israeli 11-year-olds watch television more than their peers in all western countries. The Jewish State ranks second in the rate of television viewing by 13-year-olds. Israel came in fifth in the relative number of 15-year-olds who watch TV over two hours a day.

Most Israeli children still rate socializing with their friends as one of their favorite activities (56 percent). However, watching television comes close at 55 percent. Playing computer games among Israeli youth was reported at 48 percent, according to the June 2008 statistics. However, only 11 percent of children were especially fond of reading, while 25 percent listed sports among their favorite activities.

Most children (67 percent) between 6 and 12 stated that they spent over five hours watching television every day. Ten percent watch morning programs before school, while 17percent of children between 6 and 12 watch television between 9 p.m. and midnight.

The study dedicated an entire chapter to the issue of the high school drop-out rate. Drop-outs were defined as school children who left the Israeli educational system between ninth and eleventh grade. In the 2006-2007 school year, 5.4 percent of Jews and 8.7 percent of Arabs dropped-out.

Cities with an official dropout rate over double the national 4.9 percent average include the Arab sector of Tel Aviv-Yafo, with a rate of 13.4 percent, Zichron Yaakov with 14.6 percent, the Arab sector of Yerushalayim with 12.6 percent, and the Arab sector of Lod with 12.1 percent.

The statistics attribute a “false positive” for Modi’in Ilit, a chareidi town, in which most of the boys attend yeshivos. Since the yeshivos are not officially recognized, the study incorrectly refers to the male schoolchildren as “drop-outs” and lists Modi’in Ilit as having a whopping 17.3 percent drop-out rate.

{Yair Israel/INNews}