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Article

Liudmila Tarabashkina, Pascale G. Quester and Roberta Crouch

Studies to date have focused on one or very few factors, rather than exploring a host of influences associated with children’s consumption of energy-dense foods. This is…

Abstract

Purpose

Studies to date have focused on one or very few factors, rather than exploring a host of influences associated with children’s consumption of energy-dense foods. This is surprising as multiple agents are relevant to children’s food consumer socialisation (parents, peers, social norms and food advertising). This study aims to address these gaps and offers the first comprehensive empirical assessment of a wide cluster of variables.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional study was undertaken with children aged 7-13 years and their parents/main carers, collecting family metrics from parents and data directly from children. Structural Equation Modelling was used to estimate a series of interdependence relationships in four steps, revealing the increased explained variance in children’s consumption of energy-dense foods.

Findings

The inclusion of multiple potential factors increased the percentage of explained variance in children’s consumption of energy-dense foods. The models explicate which factors relate to frequent consumption in children, and clarify various indirect influences on children through parents.

Originality/value

For the first time, a wider range of variables was integrated to maximise the percentage of explained variance in children’s behaviour, providing policy makers and social marketers with novel insights regarding areas that need to be prioritised for consumer education. Both direct and indirect relationships were assessed. Data were collected from parents and their children to provide an original methodological contribution and richer data for investigation.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 51 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article

Pepukayi Chitakunye

The purpose of this paper is to explore how children can be empowered in the research process, as active agents and key informants, in matters affecting their consumption.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how children can be empowered in the research process, as active agents and key informants, in matters affecting their consumption.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights are drawn from a study that used multiple methods to explore children's everyday food consumption practices. The data set was gathered over a period of two years and included: 23 informant‐generated visual diaries; seven online depth interviews; 15 school‐based depth interviews; 42 days of school‐based mealtime observations; and home‐based mealtime observations with four families, each visited on five different occasions.

Findings

The paper uncovers how visual diaries can be used in combination with other methods to transform relationships between adults and children in the research encounter. The emergent transformations are organised around three core themes that include: children's authentic voices; multiplex reality; and power and control. It was also found that children were able to express their own interpretations and thoughts about their food consumption practices, rather than solely relying on the adult interpretations of their lives.

Originality/value

For scholars and practitioners, the paper offers an approach that provides an opportunity for children to participate in family food decision‐making processes. It offers a cautionary tale not just about getting children to talk, but to allow children's voices to be heard in food policy initiatives, as well as in qualitative research and marketing. This poses a challenge to social researchers to think of different ways of engaging children in research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article

Christine Page and Nancy Ridgway

Past consumer socialization research suggests that differences in the consumption patterns of children from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds can be attributed to…

Abstract

Past consumer socialization research suggests that differences in the consumption patterns of children from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds can be attributed to differences in their consumer skills. We suggest, however that children’s consumer environments rather than deficiencies in skills may be able to better explain differences in children’s consumer behaviors. Toward that end, two studies are conducted. In the first, we perform an extensive qualitative evaluation of the consumer environments of children from disparate socioeconomic backgrounds. In the second, we survey the same children to gather data on their consumption patterns. Neighborhood of origin appears to play a large role in the children’s responses.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article

Agnes Nairn and Fiona Spotswood

– This paper aims to propose the lens of social practice theory (SPT) as a means of deepening insights into childhood consumer culture.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to propose the lens of social practice theory (SPT) as a means of deepening insights into childhood consumer culture.

Design/methodology/approach

The data comprise four qualitative interviews and ten focus groups with 58 8-13 year olds in six diverse schools across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Transcripts were coded with NVIVO10. Analysis was guided by the three elements of SPT: materials, meaning and competence.

Findings

Branded technology products and clothes consistently combined with both the socially sanctioned objective of achieving and maintaining a place in the peer hierarchy and also the three skills the authors have labelled “social consumption recognition”, “social consumption performance” and “social consumption communication” in regular, predictable ways to produce an ordered and, thus, reproducible nexus of actions. Analysis of the inter-relationship between these elements showed that children’s consumption is a specific practice, embedded in their everyday routines. Consumption is also linked inextricably to social position; children’s variable performance of it links with their degree of social acceptance and popularity.

Research limitations/implications

Although the study included a broad cross-section of school catchment areas, they cannot be said to represent all British children. Nonetheless, SPT provides an alternative theoretical perspective on children’s consumption by shifting the focus away from the child, the social context or even the products, thus ceasing to privilege the notion that consumption is something external to children that they learn to be socialised into; or to consciously use for their own symbolic or other purposes; or that they have to be protected from.

Social implications

Consumption practice is deeply embedded in children’s relationships and is inextricably linked to their well-being. Policies seeking to tackle any single element of the practice, such as media literacy training, are only likely to have limited effectiveness. This research implies that responsible marketing measures need to concentrate on the links between all the elements.

Originality/value

This SPT analysis of children’s consumption makes three contributions. First, it provides a much-needed new theoretical perspective beyond the dominant but limited “consumer socialisation” research paradigm that confines analysis of children’s consumption to the functioning of their individual cognitive capacity. Second, it suggests new research methodologies for understanding the interaction between children and the commercial world. Third, it offers a different approach to policymakers tasked with the controversial issue of regulating marketing to children.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 49 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article

Anna Sparrman

The purpose of this paper is to understand, from children's perspectives, the commercial marketing strategy of selling breakfast cereals with “insert toys” targeted at children.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand, from children's perspectives, the commercial marketing strategy of selling breakfast cereals with “insert toys” targeted at children.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on four focus group interviews conducted with 16 children (8‐9 years of age) concerning 18 different breakfast cereal packages. The theoretical framework integrates childhood sociology, critical discourse analysis and talk‐in‐interaction. This theoretical and methodological combination is used to show how children, in local micro settings of talk, make use of the discourses that are available to them to produce and reproduce social and cultural values about marketing with “insert toys”.

Findings

The present findings suggest that, from children's perspectives, “insert toys” are constituted by cultural and social patterns extending far beyond the “insert toy” itself. For example, the analysis shows that it is not biological age that defines what and how consumption is understood.

Research limitations/implications

The focus group material provides understandings of marketing strategies and consumption practices from children's perspectives. When the children talk about children and adults, hybrid agents of the “child‐adult”, the “adult‐child” and the “childish child” are constructed. These hybrids contradict research that dichotomizes children and adults likewise children's understandings of consumption based on age stages. Accordingly, age is rationalized into an empirically investigated category rather than being used as a preset category set out to explain children's behaviours.

Originality/value

Analysis of the focus group interactions shows that the way the market and marketing as well as children and adults are talked about is crucial to understanding children's and parents' actions as consumers.

Details

Young Consumers, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-3616

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Article

Irene A. Baxter and Monika J.A. Schroder

Discusses the factors shaping Scottish children’s perceptions of vegetables as a means of explaining their low vegetable consumption. Examines the impact that sensory…

Abstract

Discusses the factors shaping Scottish children’s perceptions of vegetables as a means of explaining their low vegetable consumption. Examines the impact that sensory factors, the child’s family and eating experiences, and environmental factors (i.e. socio‐economic factors/income, culture, eating patterns and advertising) have on children’s vegetable consumption. Additionally, makes suggestions for strategies to overcome some of these factors which affect children’s low consumption of vegetables.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 99 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article

Joseph Z. Wisenblit, Randi Priluck and Stephen F. Pirog

This study aims to examine parental styles based on levels of nurturing and authoritarianism to determine mothers' awareness of children's media exposure, likelihood of…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine parental styles based on levels of nurturing and authoritarianism to determine mothers' awareness of children's media exposure, likelihood of setting media and consumption limits and communications with children about commercial messages.

Design/methodology/approach

The research design included a survey aimed at mothers of children ages four‐eight. The researchers collected demographic, behavioral and consumption information regarding the mother's youngest child.

Findings

The results suggest that nurturing mothers are more aware of advertising aimed at children and talk more to children regarding advertising and consumption than authoritarian mothers. Mothers who are nurturing and not authoritarian are more likely to yield to requests and favor more regulation than other parents.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a convenience sample of mothers who were willing to provide confidential personal information about their children.

Practical implications

From a marketer's perspective, nurturing mothers represent a barrier to reaching children with persuasive messages. Such mothers not only limit access, but train children to be skeptical of advertising. Marketers who deal honestly with customers will be more successful in appealing to nurturing mothers and their market‐savvy children.

Social implications

For public policy makers, distinctions in parental style can be useful in developing and promoting policy regulating food marketing practices. Nurturing mothers are more supportive of regulation than are authoritarian mothers, and efforts to promote such regulation should target nurturing mothers. The factors that influence mothers to intervene and limit children's media and consumption behavior also affect attitudes toward regulation of food‐related advertising.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to examine mothers' parental styles and attitudes toward regulation and tie together attitudes toward consumption and policy with the same sample.

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Book part

Kevina Cody

By stepping outside of the consumer socialization model (Ward, 1974) which for many years has resembled a ‘body of verified truths’ when it comes to understanding the…

Abstract

Purpose

By stepping outside of the consumer socialization model (Ward, 1974) which for many years has resembled a ‘body of verified truths’ when it comes to understanding the complex intimacy between young consumers’ identities and the marketplace, this research aims to offer a theoretical and empirical reconsideration of the tangible light and shade, indeterminacy and yet ambition in which these young adolescents’ consumption practices and social contexts are inextricably intertwined.

Methodology

Five different data collection methods were employed; namely personal diaries, in-depth interviews (which were conducted at two separate intervals), accompanied shopping trips, e-collages and researcher diaries. Each method was chosen so as to fulfil a specific purpose and reflect a specific angle of repose on the lived experience and consumption practices of a liminar – those at the heart of marketing’s newest strategic boundary.

Findings

This chapter describes some of the constituent elements of metaconsumption; the proposed theorization of the liminars’ consumption practices and a suggested diversion from ‘the effects’ perspective on young consumers’ socialization.

Research implications

This chapter adds to those which problematize the tendency to view young consumers’ interactions with consumption as measurable by having to pass through pre-defined stages if they are to become recognized as complete consumers. Instead this research aligns with the perspective that young consumers, like adults, must mediate the shifting milieus of their social lives through engagement with a myriad consumption practices.

Originality/value

This perspective responds to an acknowledged empirical dearth (e.g. Martens, Southerton, & Scott, 2004). However, secondly in line with Arnould & Thompson’s (2005) original motivation that CCT encapsulate those who see our discipline as ripe with the potential for new theory generation and widespread applicability, this research aligns micro understandings and theorizations of children’s social worlds and consumer culture practices with existing meso- and macro-levels of consumption theory.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-811-2

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Article

Xiaopeng Chen, Wai Man Au and Kejing Li

The paper examines the purchase behaviour (performed by adults) in relation to children's wear in the 0‐14 age group. The importance of product attributes of children's

Abstract

The paper examines the purchase behaviour (performed by adults) in relation to children's wear in the 0‐14 age group. The importance of product attributes of children's wear was investigated. Data were gathered from both interviews and a questionnaire survey conducted in Zhengzhou, a large city in central China. Two attributes, quality and style, were identified as the most important attributes for children's wear consumers. It was also found that branding had a limited impact on the choice of children's wear. The marketing implication of the results are discussed.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Article

Erika Lundby

– This article aims to explore, and compare, the perceived association between economic resources and peer relationships among two age groups of Swedish tweens.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to explore, and compare, the perceived association between economic resources and peer relationships among two age groups of Swedish tweens.

Design/methodology/approach

The data consist of 101 drawings by Swedish tweens, aged nine, and aged 12. The children were asked if and how children can attract friends through the use of money.

Findings

Most children did perceive economic resources as a means to attract friends. However, both the kind of items that were found in the drawings, and the children's perceptions of how to use the items, were relatively different between children aged nine and children aged 12.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the small sample size, it is not possible to generalize results obtained in the current study to a population of children in general.

Practical implications

If children believe that they can use material goods to become more popular and accepted, they may be highly vulnerable to the internalisation of materialistic values. In order to more deeply understand the meaning of consumption in children's peer relationships, there is a need to gain more knowledge of the extent to which children themselves perceive money as a means of attracting friends.

Originality/value

Previous research indicates that material possessions are important for children in order to gain popularity among peers. However, few studies have tried to investigate if and how children perceive economic resources as a means to attract friends, in different age groups.

Details

Young Consumers, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-3616

Keywords

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