I have always liked time use surveys and would love to use them more, for example to write posts like this one at Vox. Now I have recently begun working a little with some such Norwegian surveys, so here is a little about recent developments in how young Norwegians spend their leisure time.
(Apologies for the unsatisfying look of some of the graphs, they are simply lifted from an online resource.)
Percent spending time on various leisure activites an average day, 1970-2010.
In short, since 1970 fewer of us are reading an average day (turquoise), while more area watching television (light blue), and recently using internet (included in “Other” (dark brown)).
A bit more detailed look on average time for 1991-2005 confirms that television time is increasing;
and although there might be somewhat of a Harry Potter effect for the youngest in the beginning of the 2000’s, time spent reading is quite consistently going down,
including time spent on newspapers,
and even cartoons.
Is that a bad thing? Well, that depends, but if it is passive television entertainment that crowds out reading, I would not be surprised if that had some long term consequences.