What is a free time

Youth leisure

by Stefanie Wagner

The concept of youth leisure is very multifaceted. In principle, however, it can be said that the term youth leisure time includes the behavior of young people in their leisure time, which ranges from daily activities during the freely configurable time to vacation.

In order to be able to give a more precise explanation for the concept of youth leisure time, it is necessary to briefly explain the concept of leisure time from the perspective of a young person. In principle, adolescents consider time as free time that is available in addition to time for compulsory work and physical necessities such as sleeping or eating. In other words, one can speak of leisure time when an “emigration from everyday life” takes place.

According to Eder, it is now necessary to specify this available time and for this reason he divides it into three categories:

O organized time

The organized time is about pre-structured and clearly defined leisure activities of the young people, which are pursued regularly and bindingly. Examples of this are learning to play a musical instrument or practicing sporting activities in a club.

O bound time

If one speaks of bound time, it is understood that caregivers determine the activities, whereby these activities have a leisure or play character. This can include trips with parents, among other things.

O configurable time

The time that can be shaped is that time that is freely and spontaneously shaped by the individual. A characteristic of this configurable time is that the activities can be determined by yourself.

Young people usually understand the term leisure time to be the freely configurable time, as the organized time, for example, often becomes so routine that normal everyday life can no longer be imagined without the activities carried out. The following table, according to Eder, is intended to give a brief overview of the weekly, hourly time required for various activities by young people during school time.

Weekly time spent by young people



Food, body care

School + home learning

Household work







14 year old












Source: Eder 2004, p.76

As can be clearly seen from the table, young people have around 30 hours per week at their disposal, which are declared as free time. But how do young people organize this free time?

Young people's leisure time activities range from sporting activities such as mountain biking to social activities such as going to the cinema or disco to educational activities. In addition to these "private" meetings, there is also the opportunity to take part in group lessons from various institutions, such as the church. The leisure experience influences various areas of young people's life, such as everyday life. According to Krippendorf, young people's travel experiences often shape everyday life in many ways:

"The holidays could be the chance to enjoy freedom, self-determination,

but also to practice co-responsibility and solidarity and a new meaning

to find, to recognize things that one would also like to realize in everyday life. "


Eder, Ferdinand (2004): Person - School - Society. Script for the lecture "Person - School - Society" at the Institute for Education and Psychology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz. P.76.

Jungk, Robert (1980): How many tourists per hectare of beach? In: GEO, Hamburg: Issue 10/1980. P.154.

Nativity Village, Jost (1986): Die Ferienmenschen - For a new understanding of leisure and travel. Zytglogge Verlag Munich 1986, Bern 1996. S.103f.

Further reading

Rieg, Timo (2005): Leisure Planner. Biblioviel publishing house.

Kaderli, Manfred (1998): Knowing and Ability - Handbook for Group Activities and Summer Camps. Rex - Verlag Luzern.

Müller, Ralf (2002): Holiday camps with young people - an educational alternative to commercial tourist offers. Publisher Ulmer Manuscripts.

Gutbrod, Martin. Hörtlinger, Hermann. Wilka, Wolfgang (2005): Crisis Management in Youth Travel - Coping with Unexpected Situations. ejw-Verlag.

Interesting links

State youth department: http://www.ooe-jugend.at/

Young: http://www.youngaustria.at/index.php?popup=0

Youth travel: http://www.ruf.de/?gclid=CNXfmML3mIUCFSVoEAod0W8q3g

koje - coordination office for open youth work and development: http://www.koje.at/index.php?rubrikID=1

STUWE - Diocese of Linz: http://www.dioezese-linz.at/einrichtungen/stuwe/jugendlich.html

Read leisure activity: http://www.buchklub.at/

Austrian Youth Red Cross: http://www.jugendrotkreuz.at/

Friends of nature: http://www.naturfreundejugend.at/

Pathfinder: http://www.ppoe.at/

Youth info: http://www.jugendinfo.at/cms/front_content.php?idcat=41