Seen and Heard: Children's Media Use, Exposure, and Response, 2008


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Seen and Heard: Children's Media Use, Exposure, and Response, Full Report 

Date published: May 2008

Research Company: Colmar Brunton


  • A comprehensive, large scale study of children’s media use, exposure, and response in the New Zealand context
  • Presents the findings of a nationwide quantitative survey conducted in 2007 and an update to key questions from The Younger Audience (2001)
  • Comparisons with The Younger Audience are made where appropriate


  • A nationwide face-to-face survey
  • 604 children and 604 primary caregivers were interviewed
  • Conducted between August and November 2007
  • Children between the ages of 6 and 13 were randomly selected for inclusion in the survey, and both the child and their primary caregiver were interviewed


  • Children’s electronic and digital media world an extremely diverse one
  • Children’s high levels of access to, and use of, traditional media like television and radio are consistent with the 2001 research results
  • New Zealand children interact with new media, such as cellphones, MP3 players, and the internet, in high numbers
  • There are marked inequities in access to new media, with Pacific and Māori children in particular falling behind Asian and Pakeha children
  • When children come across inappropriate content, most indicate that they ‘exit’ the situation by turning off the media device or switching to different content
  • Like in 2001 study, children are able to articulate what content is inappropriate for them and their peers and what content upsets them both for traditional media and new media
  • Role of regulators in guiding both parents and children important in regard to traditional media
  • Classifications and warnings alert three-quarters of children to the potential inappropriateness of TV programme content
  • Similar proportion of parents use classifications and warnings to guide their child’s viewing
  • Awareness of the 8.30pm ‘watershed’ is not high (under one-half of parents and one-quarter of children were able to identify 8.30pm as the time after which programmes not suitable for children are shown)
  • As in 2001, exposure to television programme content broadcast after 8.30pm continues to occur in real-time
  • A quarter of parents are concerned about what their child sees on news and current affairs programmes
  • Over a third of parents with children who use the internet raise specific concerns about their child unintentionally accessing sites/images or seeing pop-ups
  • Seen and Heard: Children’s Media Use, Exposure, and Response reveals that ‘a bedroom culture’ is now more dominant than before with more children having a television in their bedroom (up 9 percentage points to 27%)