Our Survey Said…..
Francesca Morosi on all you need to know about kids’ media in one session…
Ed Petrie, Presenter (CBBC)
Jonathan Boseley, Vice President, Programming, Disney Channels UK and Ireland
Michael De Souza, Co-Creator, Rastamouse
Damian Kavanagh, Controller CBBC, BBC
Claudia Lloyd, Head of Animation and Children’s, Tiger Aspect
Alice Taylor, Founder, Makieworld.com
Genevieve Webster, Co-Creator, Rastamouse
Maurice Wheeler, Co-Founder and Planning Director, Digital Outlook
Jen Wood, General Manager, Edinburgh International Science Festival
Neil Allan, Development, BBC Scotland
Claire Gillies, Development, BBC Scotland
I was glad to discover that the host for this session was to be the very entertaining CBBC presenter Ed Petrie.
Ed started with a joke complimenting himself on having reached the destination without the help of GPS! “Incredible I made it here with a just a map and my brain this morning!” then exclaimed “Hello Leeds!!”
Here are some of the results from the survey of 7-12 year-olds:
Q1: Most popular celebrity?
(They asked 100 girls to name celebrities who they would have as their best friend
1) Cheryl Cole
2) Justin Bieber
3) Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus
4) Lady Gaga
Q2: What would you do with the celebrity?
Answers were: Shopping, Washing hair, grooming, getting tips about beauty
Q3: Should kids under 12 be on facebook?
One of the girls on video: “Facebook is very dangerous, I would never go on it” (and Ed promptly comments: “I think she works for MySpace!”)
Then Ed asked: “What does the panel think? Should kids be on Facebook ?
One speaker responded: “We all agree that there are safety issues which must be considered here but at the same time our research show that kids are highly sophisticated, we were surprised at the level of awareness that they show, they are highly aware of the risks related to online networking and chatting, they are especially cautious about revealing password or contact details.”
Q4: How many friends has the average facebook user? A: 130
(with some of the kids in the survey reaching 500!)
The panel of speakers talked about the issue of privacy and how it’s easy to expand the “friends list” to include people who are not part of the real friend circle. In fact, the survey confirms that more than half of kids on Facebook don’t know at least half of their list of friends (oh my! I’ve got the same problem!) One of the problems that Facebook & other networking websites will have to face is to try to separate the “real friends” from the extended family of friends (“it’s an extended community which you may not want to have full access to your profile and info and this is a problem for adult and kid users alike)
In the section: HOBBIES, the main questions were;
Q5: What kids got up to during their free time?
70% of kids belief Olympics won’t motivate them to do more sport (…shocking?)
Q6: What Olympic sport they would like to try out? Answer: Archery.
This was thrown out to the audience, and the prize went to Dominic Gardiner who sprinted from the overflow room in Cinema 3 to pick up his prize – an autographed picture of Ed and a music CD: “Now those days are gone”
Q7. What is the activity most popular with boys.
1) Football 40
2) Musical instrument 8
3) Computer games 7
4) Dancing 5
Dancing is on the rise as a favourite activity for boys (we also watched some highly entertaining videos of boys talking about dancing). Ed asked the speakers their opinion on this: “Why do you think boys are so much into dancing?” Damian Kavanagh (CBBC) thought that boys are seeing so much of it on TV and they get more confident showing off their skills. There are programs such as “Friday Download” which include demos of dancing and videogames, where kids can actually learn a certain dance move or game trick. This just shows how these programs can hugely influence their target audience.
And we looked at the very popular TV sensation of Rastamouse and learned that Liam Gallagher was a huge fan.
Q8: What’s the new Nintendo console going to be called?
Ed: “I actually think they should call it the Wii Hole – everytime I go on it 3 hours are gone like that, it’s like a black hole”
Next topic: SCHOOL
Q9: The survey asked 100 girls what would be your dream job?
1) Vet 27
2) Pop star 14
3) Nurse 8
4) Teacher 10
(…one of the girls on video: “I want to be really famous and have lot of money” another one “I want to be a doctor and make lots of money”)
Some of the speakers called attention to the fact that girls don’t want to be scientist and how we need more programs like “Nina & the Neurons” which can introduce and engage kids with scientific topics, perhaps working in collaboration with schools to get kids really excited about science. Another speaker notes that this is not a surprise giving the current “stereotypical push” on girls into everything “beautiful & soft”.
Q10: What would kids do to get to the news?
We watched a really exhilarating clip of a boy talking about “building chocoland (…and where you don’t even need to brush your teeth!)”
Then we see Chris (a 9-10 years old boy) with his idea as “one man on a mission” to get boys to wear skirts in school when it’s hot! Chris went to Downing Street arguing that the rules should be the same for everybody, “as girls are allowed to wear trousers, boys should be allowed to wear skirts.”
(Ed: “The kid is very smart, he’s going to be definitely a politician!”)
We then watched a very raunchy video of Rhianna and Cristina Aguilera showing their “assets” while dancing in very provocative poses, aired on TV well before the 9 pm watershed.
Ed tried to spark some controversy, he asked the speakers: “Do you think these kind of videos are appropriate?” The panel talked about the highly debated “sexualisation” of children and the Bailey report (one of the speakers: “I understand the alarm but let’s be careful about who we give the control to in case of censorship?”
Most of the speakers were positive about enforcing a more strict watershed.
One of the speakers after watching the videos: “I am afraid of what direction this is taking, we should put a stop to this kind of imagery. TV programme editors and producers have a responsibility toward young kids and their parents; quite frankly a 13 year old boy would be embarrassed to watch this!”
Topic 4: TOYS
Q11. (they asked 100 boys) if you were a millionaire what would you buy?
1) Car 25%
2) House 28%
3) Lego 11%
4) Swimming pool 5%
Other answers: a Lamborghini, a big mansion, a Ferrari!
Damian Kavanagh commented on an interesting idea for a program: “From our research we learned that kids are obsessed with driving, therefore we talk about the idea for a program where kids can talk and engage with their parents being rubbish drivers, and in the meantime teaching rules about safety.”
Other answers were: Computer, games, sugar (!), TV
Q12. What media kids miss the most?
Maurice Wheeler (Digital Outlook, which specialises in researching what kids are like and what are they into) added a comment on the recent ipad craze (apparently really “IN” for kids now) and that the devices that kids consume are more likely to be portable – a laptop, a touch pad, and similar portable, on-the–go gadgets.
The final topic was about merchandise and toys sold with programs.
Claudia Lloyd (producer of Charlie and Lola and Tinga Tinga Tales) stressed that “The central things are the stories and the idea, the merchandise goes after, it’s just following.”
At the end Jonathan Boseley’s team won (though both were declared “winners” and the prize was a nice bottle of Sheffield’s own Henderson’s Relish sauce (mmm…)
Disney Channels UK and Ireland
Vice President, Programming
Michael De Souza
Partner & Commercial Director
Head of Animation and Children’s
Co-Founder and Planning Director
Edinburgh International Science Festival