What the kids really think! II

Children’s questionnaire, the results – part 2

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.

In this section 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.

 

We asked the children about the sort of stories they like to read in comics and magazines; they were given fifteen genres to choose from and were asked to tick as many as they liked (the total number of answers was 591). In this study the most popular genres for all the children, were action/adventure, comedy, mystery, history, sports and spy (in order, most popular first); with romance, non-fiction and sci-fi being the least popular. When we looked at the boys answers the order of preference changed to comedy, sports, war/battle, action/adventure, history and horror; while mystery, action/adventure, drama, comedy, and spy (in order of most popular first) were a hit with the girls. When we examine the percentage of girls and boys answers its clear to see which gender preferred the different sorts of story. “Other” answers include: cute, wise advice, mischief, animals, authors, celebrity, gaming, cartoon, cars, gardening, real lives and traumas, gossip, Spongebob Squarepants.

Fig1_2

 

We asked the children what type of stories they liked to read to question what might interest them in a comic. Whether they preferred complete, one-off stories or long-running, serialised stories; again the children were asked to tick as many answers as they wished (the total number of answers was 220). In their response it was clear to see the younger age groups preferred complete, one off stories and comics full of longer stories, but as they aged the children liked the different types of stories equally.

Fig2_1

 

The children were asked to list all the TV programmes and films that they enjoyed, they could list as many as they wanted. The Simpsons, Harry Potter, Horrid Henry, Scooby Doo and Spongebob Squarepants were all very popular with both girls and boys. When we look at the answers for girls and boys separately its clear to see the different gender-focused titles coming in, for example the boys enjoying Football and Star Wars and girls preferring iCarly and Tracy Beaker.

There were so many answers, we have kept the list of titles listed once out of the tables below.

Fig3_tables_1

 

We asked the children if they enjoyed reading books, the vast majority of them did. The numbers for both girls and boys were very similar.

Fig4_2

 

In addition the children were asked to list some of their favourite titles and authors, they could list as many as they wanted. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Roald Dahl and Mr Gum were favourites with both boys and girls. In addition, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Horrid Henry were particularly favoured among the boys, with the girls choosing Charlie Bone and Jacqueline Wilson. The girls listed more books overall perhaps suggesting they read more frequently or more variety, we didn’t ask how often the children read.

There were so many answers, we have kept the list of titles listed once out of the tables below.

Fig4_tables_1

 

The children were asked about their internet use, and the vast majority of them said they did use the internet. We found that slightly less of the younger children used the internet with the numbers increasing as they got older.

Fig5_2

 

We wanted to know how often they were online; the majority of the children said they used the internet frequently. The answers for ‘every day’ suggests the children use the internet both at school and at home. “Other” answers include: anytime; 6 times a week; 5 days a week; 5 times a week; 4 times a week; 4–5 days a week; whenever I can, mostly for homework; when I can; when I have time; 3 times a month.

Fig6_2

 

We were interested in the types of websites the children liked to use, with so many of websites linked to comics, magazines, TV programmes and authors we were very interested in their answers. Club Penguin, CBBC, Moshi Monsters, Bin Weevils and YouTube were favourites with both genders and all except YouTube are specifically designed for their age groups – and I know from my own family how popular these websites have become. When we look at the answers for girls and boys separately we can see some gender-focused websites listed below, but the most popular sites are the ones designed for all children with the emphasis on interaction.

Fig7_tables_1

 

Finally, we asked the children for their own ideas for new comics and any other comments they might have. Would they like to read a comic based on a favourite TV programme, film, book, author or website they’d already listed, or something else entirely? There were many varied answers and some of them listed comics that already existed – perhaps they didn’t know about those titles?

Here is a small sample of some of the answers:
“The Grinch, Cat in the Hat, Narnia.”
“Harry Potter, How to train your Dragon.”
“Phineas and Ferb, Spongbob Squarepants.”
“iCarly, Big Time Rush, Home Alone.”
“Mr Stink, Charlie Bone.”
“I like football comics the most especially about Liverpool vie Arsenal and Liverpool trashing the other team.”
“Kickin it, the Monster Hunters guide, I’m in the Band, Roblox.”
“Because then I don’t have to watch TV and it wont hurt my eyes.”
“I would like to read a comic about Good Luck Charlie.”
“I would like to read a comic based on The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and all the other books that are my favourite on just ones that I like.”
“J K Rowling, Percy Jackson, Animal Jam.”
“No way, I don’t like comics and magazines.”
“The Simpsons, Danni’s House”
“Merlin, Victorious, iCarly.”
“Magazines are excellent.”
“I think comics are the best kind of book that a child would read of the age of 5 or 4–10.”
“I don’t like it when the comics are all old because they fall apart and you don’t want to read them.”
“They are fun to read and are a bit interesting, knowledgeable and exciting.”
“I would like to read a book with pictures that were comic style, because if you liked comics and reading books it would be nice to have a mixture.”
“I really like comics and I would like there to be more!”
“I wish you can have loads of comics.”
“I also like reading what has no super heroes on it.”
“They’re too boy-like so you need to make girl ones as well.”

 

And that is it. Our survey has given us a window into the children’s thought on the comics, magazines and stories they enjoyed reading; and gave us an idea of the huge variety of media children are consuming either by watching, reading or interacting with online. It has been really interesting to hear what they had to say and I think we can conclude there is space out there for more comics for children, so lets not just Bring Back Bunty, but also Roy of the Rovers, Whizzer and Chips, Tammy, Jackie, Buster etc etc…

Thanks for reading!