I consider myself fortunate to have six males under the age of twenty under my roof this evening. After being fed and watered, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to interview them about the texts they like to read, watch and engage with.
Here are the questions:
1. Tell me about the books you have read in the past month or so.
2. How did you find out about these books?
3. Tell me about the television programs you enjoy watching.
4. Which games do you play on the computer?
5. Do you watch videos on the internet? Which ones?
6. How did you find out about these videos?
7. What about board games – do you play these?
Books just love me by Ardinnnn:) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ardinhasaphotography/8407191536/
|18 year old uni student||16 year old Italian international student||Two 15 year old boys||11 and 12 year old boys|
|Books||Five Golden Rules
Scientific American magazine
Warhammer rule book
|None||Wheel of Time
The Black Prism
|Television Programs||Game of Thrones
Big Bang Theory
|Whatever is on 99Go or ABC3
|Computer Games||League of Legends
Team Fortress 2
Call of Duty
|League of Legends
Heroes of Newerth
|League of Legends
|Internet Videos||League of Legends playback
Trailers of new games
How to Basics
In the Littlewoood
Sky does Minecraft
|Board Games||Settlers of Catan||Monopoly
Dungeons and Dragons
Trading Card Games
|Trading Card Games
Dungeons and Dragons
Settlers of Catan
When answering the questions regarding how the boys found out about these texts, most boys relied on recommendations by a friend or family member. The 18 year old responded that he would never play a computer game without a recommendation from his brothers or a friend. The 15-and-unders relied on recommendations, as well as searches using Google and YouTube. The 11 and 12 year olds commented,
‘You look up something like League of Legends playback in You Tube, then after the video you scroll down until you find something interesting. If you like it, you keep watching the same thing’.
The 15 year olds were the least serious when answering the questions. They mentioned Teletubbies (‘Ha, ha. You are not going to put names to this, are you?’) and Twilight (‘Ha, ha. Don’t put that down!’). At the end of the interview, one 15 year old commented, ‘Is the interview finished? Can you leave my room now (please)?’ Obviously, their mother is not as popular as the texts they engage with (I even put the please in myself)!
The International Student described some videos as ‘Really stupid’. When asked for clarification, he replied, ‘I mean, not intellectual’. I am in total agreement with him on this one!
Both the 18 year old and the 15 year olds were apologetic with some of their answers. A few times during the interview they commented,
‘I’m not sure we represent the typical teenager.’
When asked why not, the 15 year olds replied, ‘People outside our group don’t do anything like us…well, actually, some do…’ They thought a little about this comment and then clarified that most people their age don’t engage in the same combination of texts that they do. When I reflected on this, I concluded that this would be correct. Generally, people form friendships with others who have very similar interests. So, boys outside of their friendship group would have a different combination of interests, although some interests would intersect with theirs.
Although I did not ask directly about social media, all boys used Skype, especially when playing computer games with friends. Only the 18 year old and 16 year old International Student had an active Facebook account. Not one boy had a Twitter or Instagram account.
I found this exercise to be extremely interesting and loads of fun. I particularly enjoyed listening to the commentary surrounding some of the answers. This is a very worthwhile activity for gaining an understanding of the interests of youth, although my 18 year old was skeptical, ‘Is this a sneaky way of finding out what we get up to?’ You’ve got to love it!