Children’s questionnaire, the results – part 1
Last December Bring Back Bunty asked a number of primary school children aged 7–11 about comics and magazines. We wanted to know which comics and magazines they read, why they buy them and what types of stories they enjoy. In addition, to get a general feel for the kinds of stories that capture their imagination, we asked the children about the books they read, the websites they visit, and the TV programmes and films they watch. As far as we are aware the children were not prompted on their answers, but the questionnaire was completed in December making some of the answers distinctly seasonal. We have endeavoured to stay true to the children’s words, ergo some of the information may not be factually correct. In total we received 169 completed questionnaires, 89 were from boys and 80 from were girls. We will present the answers to our questions for all children, and on occasion by age and/or by gender to explore how the answers differ.
We asked the children if they read comics and magazines; overall two thirds of them said they did. In this study, reading comics and magazines appears to be more popular among the girls, with the exception of year 4.
The children were asked to list all the comics and magazines they read, they could list as many as they wanted. The Beano is evidently the undisputed favoured comic with all children, both girls and boys. And where football magazines, Moshi Monsters, Sparkle World and The Simpsons are very popular with all respondents, it becomes clear who reads the gender-focused titles when we look at the answers for girls and boys separately.
The children read a diverse array of titles incorporating various genres including: titles in their own right, titles derived from TV characters/programmes and films, titles based on toys and games, and titles dealing with sports and leisure interests. In addition, some of the comics and magazines clearly encompass more than one genre such as Match of the Day and Cars; while other titles may include items from other genres such as TV’s Harry Hill featuring in The Dandy which is primarily a stand-alone comic. Below, we have arranged all the titles read by the children according to genre.
We asked the children what they liked most about reading comics and magazines, there were so many varied answers (109 children answered this question) we decided the best way to present them is in a word cloud (created on www.wordle.net). Like, funny, stories and pictures are the words that appeared most frequently in the answers.
Here is a small sample of some of their comments:
“They have cartoon stories.”
“Because they are funny and cool.”
“They’re not like books.”
“They are my favourite thing.”
“The pictures and the speech balloons.”
“They are funny.”
“They have pictures. Every Tuesday a new one comes out. They have posters.”
“I like them because they inspire me to read more; it also lets my imagination run wild.”
“Funny, interesting, good drawings and pictures.”
“I can find out things I didn’t already know.”
“They are funny and I get inspiration to write a book.”
“They have stories and games in them, they advertise things and have pictures.”
“They have competitions in them, they are colourful, they include tips and fun things to do, they have interesting facts”
“They’re funny and exciting.”
Who purchases the children’s comics and magazines? Do they buy them themsleves or does someone else? It’s clear from the answers provided that Mums are the main buyers of comics and magazines, with Dads coming second and many children buying their own. If we combine numbers for Mum and Dad (113 for all respondents, 49 for boys and 64 for girls) it’s clear that the majority of comics and magazines are bought by parents; we do not know if purchases are made with their children present. “Other” answers include: Sister, Brother, Uncle, Auntie, school teacher, read in the Library, childminder, neighbour, friends.
We asked the children how they initially found out about the comics and magazines they read. Did they see them in the Newsagents? Were they recommended by friends? Or perhaps did they see an advertisement? From the answers given the majority of the children came across their comics and magazines in the shops and many were on recommendations from friends, relatives and carers. “Other” answers include: on the computer, Library, Airport, my Dad had them when he was younger, Brother, school teacher, childminder, free with the newspaper, TV programmes, charity shop, got sent in the post, my Dad/Mum/Grandad bought one for me.
Over two thirds of all our respondents would like to see more comics and magazines available; the apportion of answers from boys and girls was almost identical. Publishers please note, here is a resounding ‘Yes please!’ in answer to our question.
We asked the children if they read comics online and, if so, which ones. The majority of the children did not read comics online, but many of them added suggestions for what they would like to see available. The list of titles below is a combination of those already read online and titles the children would like to see available.
To be continued…
In part 2 we will examine: the kinds of stories the children enjoy, the books they read, TV programmes and films they watch, their internet usage, and the websites they like to visit.
Thanks for reading!