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How sports can help make young people better citizens

Studies have shown that children who play sports are more likely to accept and empathize with others. Credits: Shutterstock

Most Australians follow health advice Wear a face mask When Have been vaccinated with COVID-19.. Behaviors like these that benefit others are known in psychology as prosocial behavior.and COVID contextProsocial behavior reduces the spread of the virus and keeps the medical institution functioning.


The potential for individual prosocial behavior Affected by those values.. In particular, their social and civil values ​​influence their interest in the welfare of others.

We recently embarked research About possible relationships between sports and the promotion of thinking Social issues And the public interest. We worked with teachers of health and physical education students to explore learning opportunities shared between the two areas of the Australian curriculum. Health and physical educationWhen Citizenship and Citizenship Education.. Fair play, ethical discussions and dilemmas, Contribution to the local communityIdentity and inclusiveness are areas where sports and citizens’ values ​​intersect.

Citizens’ values ​​help keep people happy and safe in a functional society.In democracy like AustraliaThese values ​​include freedom, equality, responsibility, accountability, respect, tolerance and inclusion.

When young people learn these values, it helps to create a cohesive society. This is becoming more and more important in the light of COVID’s misinformation and conspiracy theories, as well as the various threats to democracy around the world in recent years.

What does sport have to do with citizens’ values?

Adolescence Important time To develop the values ​​of the citizens. Personal life experiences, relationships and social contexts all influence this development. These contexts include home, school, Extracurricular activities Sports etc.

Sports are a big part of the lives of many young people.this Offers Opportunity:

  • Participation
  • Break down cultural barriers
  • Building a community identity
  • Make friends, network and reduce social isolation.

In sports, you need to work with others to reach your team’s goals. In this way, it can help children develop attributes such as altruism and empathy.

of One studyFor example, young people participating in organized sports were more embraced by immigrants. Those who did not come into contact with migrant children through sports showed a more negative attitude.

According to a survey, parents Explain sports As a “school of life”. It teaches their children tolerance, teamwork, a sense of duty, the value of diligence, and socialization skills.

Understanding the development of the character of sports and values ​​such as fair play and respect Benefit young people in a wider life..

In a broader sense, sports can make a significant contribution to the public interest by promoting prosocial behavior.

for example, 2021 review One of 13 international studies investigated the impact of sports programs on crime prevention and recidivism. Participants in these programs were found to have significantly reduced aggression and antisocial behavior. Their self-esteem and mental health have improved significantly. As a result, criminal activity has decreased.

The Basketball creator, James Naismith believed that sports taught players values ​​and moral attributes. He not only allows indoor game soccer players to play during the winter, but also allows young people to teamwork, cooperate, fair play, Sportsmanship and self-sacrifice. He believed that team sports teach skills that are essential to the functioning of the community.

Not all rosy

Unfortunately, in elite sports, gamemanship, greed, cheating, and the spirit of winning at any cost can be higher than positive virtues such as courage, cooperation, and sportsmanship. In our study, many student teachers referred to news reports containing negative messages about fraud, doping, and racism.

However, our data also emphasize the context of sports as a positive catalyst for reflection and prosocial behavior. Participants focused on the following examples:

  • “Equal pay for men and women (eg surfing)”
  • “Evolution of attitudes toward mental health problems in sports”
  • “Athletes kneeling to support the Black Lives Matter movement”
  • “Sports as a breath of fresh air in the context of COVID-19 restrictions”
  • “Including people with disabilities and disadvantages has created a wonderful sporting moment.”

Sports have recently been the victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.For the event was canceled And play in the game Empty stadium.. But sports were also a brilliant light for those suffering from the blockade.

This was especially true for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) described the event as a light of hope after much of normal life has ceased.The same is true for other commentators Said Tokyo “Made sports a shining light in the dark” When I explained about the game “Such a welcome distraction really emphasized how much sports can bring smiles to people’s faces.”

So how do you maximize the benefits?

Teaching students about citizens’ values ​​and sports as part of the school curriculum is not the only way to promote prosocial behavior.Encourage and enjoy a wider range of benefits for a healthier society Young people Playing sports at school or in the community. Here’s how to do this:

  • Government, school, community group Facilitate Benefits of physical activity such as increased health, increased energy, improved mood and sleep
  • More opportunities for physical activity in school programs, including activities that can be enjoyed for years after school, such as bushwalking and cycling
  • Invite club staff and volunteers to talk to students and hold hands-on sessions to help students learn more about local clubs and facilities.
  • Allowing girls to wear more comfortable and confident sports uniforms Elastic and dark color to hide sweat
  • Helping parents participate in their child’s physical activity by providing family activities and providing takeaway bags for basic playsets, Activity proposal
  • delete Barriers to participation Club fees, equipment costs, excessive emphasis on competition, etc.This can be done by providing voucher Promote other reasons why people play sports, such as personal achievement and satisfaction, Social interaction..

Poor students are less likely to participate in sports at college


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Quote: How sports can help young people become better citizens (February 23, 2022) https://phys.org/news/2022-02-sport-young-people-citizens Obtained February 23, 2022 from .html

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