Young People's Use of Entertainment Mediums (2006)

Young People's Use of Entertainment Mediums (pdf)
01 Nov 2006

The Classification Office and UMR Research investigated the use of entertainment mediums by persons aged 16-18 years. The 460 respondents to the survey had attended the Office's Censor for a Day 2006 events in Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson and Invercargill. They were asked about the most recent film, computer game and DVD or video they had viewed and whether it had influenced their thoughts or behaviour. The survey also asked what factors influenced their choice of film, computer game, DVD or video. It also looked at how young people use their mobile phones. This research was repeated in August 2010.


The purpose of the 2005 Underage Gaming Research was to quantify the extent of illegal behaviour such as supplying restricted games to underage people.


This report is based on a survey of 460 students who attended the Office of Film and Literature Classification’s Censor for a Day events in 2006. The events were held in Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson and Wellington. The students attending the Censor for a Day events were mostly 16 and 17 years old. Ten respondents, or just under three percent of the total sample, were 18 years of age, and two said that they were 19. The responses of these 12 older students have been noted on the tables with an asterisk.

Students were asked to complete the survey and return it during the Censor for a Day events. 539 students attended the events and 460 completed the survey. This is a response rate of 85 percent.

Key Results

• Frequency: 63 percent of respondents declared that they watched DVDs or videos at least once a week. 38 percent played computer and console games at least that often, and 2 percent went to movies once a week or more. Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, 19 percent never played computer or console games and 1 percent never went to movies.

• Varied viewing habits: When we asked respondents to identify the most recent films they had watched and games they had played, they showed very disparate viewing and gaming habits. For example, the 460 participants mentioned a total of 250 different DVDs or videos, including 162 that were mentioned by only one person. No DVD or video was mentioned by more than 11 participants. Similarly, respondents listed 85 films that they had seen at the movies, and 164 games.

• The most popular videos and DVDs were Crash (R16) and Napoleon Dynamite (PG), mentioned by eleven and ten respondents respectively. Other common mentions were Saw 2 (R18), 40 Year Old Virgin (R16) and Wedding Crashers (M) (all nominated by nine respondents).

• The most frequently mentioned theatrical films were Date Movie (M) (mentioned by 38 respondents) and Chronicles of Narnia (PG) (37 mentions). King Kong (M) (27 mentions), Brokeback Mountain (M) (26) and Walk the Line (M) (22) also came through strongly.

• The computer and console games question was dominated by Singstar (Australian G or PG, depending on which game) (49 respondents) and the Sims (Australian G, G8 or M depending on which game) (45 respondents), although it was not clear which version of either game was being played. As in the previous year’s survey, Grand Theft Auto (R18 all games) was prominent, with 28 respondents mentioning a game from this series.

• Most frequently viewed R18 games and movies: Grand Theft Auto was, therefore, the most commonly mentioned game with an R18 classification, while Saw 2 was the most commonly mentioned R18 DVD or video (a further two respondents mentioned the original Saw, which had the same classification). Of the cinema films, the most frequently mentioned R18 was Hostel (seven respondents).

• Underage viewing: Only a small proportion of those under 18 years of age reported viewing or playing a movie, game, DVD or video that was classified R18. Eight percent mentioned an R18 DVD or video title as the last one they watched, while the equivalent figures for games and movies were 6 percent and 2 percent respectively. Ten under 18 year olds reported having watched Saw or Saw 2 most recently, while a further 6 mentioned films by Quentin Tarantino. Twenty-six underage gamers said that they had played a Grand Theft Auto title most recently while only 3 mentioned another R18 title.

• Influences on choice: The main influences over choice of DVDs and videos were recommendations from friends, trailers on other videos or DVDs, and who stars in the movie. Using a 0-10 scale where 10 meant a lot of influence and 0 meant none at all, 65 percent rated recommendations of friends as 7 or higher, 63 percent gave at least a 7 to trailers, and 54 percent rated who stars in the video or DVD as 7 or higher. By comparison, only 18 percent rated the movie classification as 7 or higher.

• The pattern was similar for cinema movies, with recommendations of friends (65 percent 7 or higher), trailers (65 percent) and cast (49 percent) appearing near the top of the list. TV advertising was also quite prominent here (65 percent 7 or higher).

• Recommendations of friends were easily the most commonly mentioned influence over which games were played. 44 percent rated this 7 or higher, compared with 21 percent for TV advertising and 20 percent for reviews.

• Influence on thought and behaviour: Respondents were asked whether any game they had played or movie, DVD or video they had watched, had affected either the way they thought or the way they acted. 64 percent declared that a film or game had influenced the way they thought (either in a positive or negative way), while 24 percent said that one had influenced the way that they acted. A wide variety of films and games were identified as being influential.

• Influence on thought: In terms of their impact on ‘thoughts’, the most influential films were Michael Moore’s two most recent documentary features. Sixteen respondents mentioned Bowling for Columbine (M), while fifteen nominated Fahrenheit 9/11 (M). One participant mentioned Moore’s feature Roger and Me (M). Respondents who mentioned Bowling for Columbine said that it had encouraged them to think differently about gun culture, while comments about Fahrenheit 9/11 focused on world and American politics, and US President George Bush.

• Other films that participants felt had influenced the way they thought included Schindler’s List (M), Butterfly Effect (R16) and Crash (R16), while 7 respondents mentioned the Grand Theft Auto (R18) series of games.

• Influence on behaviour: As noted, smaller numbers said that films or games had influenced the way that they did things. Films and games that did come through here included Super Size Me (M) (7 respondents- the main impact being ‘eat less McDonalds’), Pay it Forward (M), Crash (R16) and Final Destination 3 (R16).

• Mobile phone use: Almost every respondent (98 percent) claimed to own a mobile phone. 89 percent said that they sent text messages every day, compared with just 5 percent who made voice calls every day.

Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018