In 2006, the Classification Office undertook research to gain a snapshot of how young people in New Zealand were using the entertainment mediums they had access to. We updated this research in 2010 to take account of new technology and its impact on young people. Young people told us they are watching DVDs and playing games more often, use their mobile phones primarily for texting, and are most influenced by recommendations from their friends and family when deciding what to watch or play.
A paper-based survey of 524 15-19 year-old Media Studies and English students from 28 schools was conducted in March 2010. The majority (59%) participated while attending the Classification Office‟s Term 1 Censor for a Day events in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The remaining students, from Nelson and Invercargill, completed the survey supervised by teachers in the classroom. Teachers posted the completed forms to UMR Research Ltd. UMR collated the data and analysed the findings, providing the Classification Office with bullet point summaries and charts and tables in a PowerPoint document. UMR also prepared supplementary Excel data tables which can be made available on request to the Classification Office.
It is important to note that data in a self-completion survey is never 100% pure. Respondents cannot be forced to answer every question or to follow instructions to the letter (for example, about which questions to answer and which to skip).
While participants in this research were primarily Media Studies students, some English students were recruited for the postal surveys. Media Studies students may more frequently engage with entertainment mediums than students who are not involved in this area of study. Such students may also have a higher level of media literacy and sophistication when it comes to thinking about entertainment mediums and the entertainment choices they make.
The data indicates that there have been substantial movements in young people‟s use of DVDs and computer/console games since 2006.
Young people are watching DVDs more often...
There was an increase in the number of students who reported watching DVDs at least once a week (73%, up from 63% in 2006). Within that percentage, the number of students watching a DVD every day increased from 3% in 2006 to 10% in 2010.
...and going to the cinema less often
In contrast to the rise in use of DVDs, young people‟s attendance at the cinema has declined. In 2006, 70% of students reported going to the cinema at least once every 2-3 months. In 2010, that figure fell to 61%.
More students are playing computer and console games – and more often
In both studies students were asked how often they played computer or console games. Overall, 92% of students reported playing computer or console games compared with 81% in 2006. 57% of the students in the 2010 research reported playing games at least once a week, compared with only 38% in 2006. Of the 57%, 23% reported playing games every day (in 2006 only 9% reported playing every day).
Most own a mobile phone, but few have a smart phone
The majority of students reported owning a mobile phone (96%). This is almost the same as the result in 2006 (98%). In 2010, students were also asked if their phone was a smart phone or 3G capable. Only 27% reported having a phone of this type – 51% said they didn't, and 22% were unsure which category their phone fell into.
They mainly use their phones for texting…
All students who reported owning a mobile phone text at least occasionally – 85% text every day.
…and make voice calls less often
In 2006, 91% of the students said they used their mobile phone for voice calls. In 2010, that figure dropped to 80%. The number of students using their mobile phones for pxting3 also dropped from 63% to 37%.
Young people mostly watch films and play games at home
When asked where they mostly watched films, 73% of students said they watched them at home, while only 6% mainly watched them at the cinema. 77% of those who reported playing electronic games said they mostly played them at home. 19% said they mainly played games at a friend‟s house.
More young people hire or buy physical copies of their games and films than download them
49% of students told us that they generally hired the films they watched, while 27% said that they or their family owned most of the films they watched. 61% said that they mostly played games that they or someone else had bought from a shop. 59% of those who played games said they played them mainly on a console. Only 11% reported that they downloaded most of the films they watched, and only 13% said they downloaded most of the games they play.
The internet has impacted on young people’s access to media
As technology has evolved and the internet becomes an increasingly entrenched part of the everyday lives of young people in New Zealand, it is not surprising that many now use it to access various entertainment mediums. 37% of students said that they played online games at least once a week, including 12% who played every day. The internet was also a source of films, with 27% of students reporting watching films online at least once a week (7% do so every day). 65% said that they watched films from the internet at least occasionally.
Recommendations from friends or family strongly influence young people’s film and game choices
We asked students to tell us how much influence things such as recommendations, advertising and classifications had on them when deciding which film to watch. Where 0 meant no influence at all and 10 meant a lot of influence, 54% of students gave recommendations from friends/family an influence rating of 7 or higher out of 10. 54% also gave this weighting to trailers seen before other films. 41% of students gave recommendations from friends an influence rating of 7 or higher in relation to game choices.
Classifications have little influence on young people’s entertainment choices
40% reported they are never influenced by classifications in making film choices, and 56% are never influenced by classifications when choosing games. Classifications had a similarly low ranking influence on young people‟s game and film choices in 2006.
Summer Hollywood blockbusters were popular with the students
We asked students to tell us the most recent film they enjoyed watching and the most recent game they enjoyed playing. Recent cinema releases were among those most frequently mentioned. The top two films were both unrestricted – Alice in Wonderland was rated PG and Avatar M. The most commonly mentioned age-restricted film was Martin Scorsese‟s Shutter Island (R16). In contrast, age-restricted titles dominated the games students said they had recently enjoyed playing. The Call of Duty series, in particular the two Modern Warfare games, was mentioned more often than other titles