The impact of child-directed media consumption on consumer intelligence
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The impact of child-directed media consumption on consumer intelligence was investigated using 77 parent–child pairs - 39 first graders and 38 fifth graders. The majority of the subjects were from a homogeneous sample of primarily middle to uppermiddle income, two-parent, Caucasian, families. Data was collected through a parental survey and a 25-minute personal interview with each child. In the document that follows, first the multi-dimensional constructs of consumer intelligence and child-directed media consumption are defined. In the study, the components of consumer intelligence were defined as: knowledge of the purpose of advertising, knowledge of prices of familiar consumer goods, ability to judge the relative value of goods or groups of goods, and ability to reach a satisfactory purchase decision. The components of child-directed media consumption were defined as: level of media consumption, richness of the media environment (more access to media choices), amount of parental influence on media choices, and media knowledge. Next, measures were developed for each of the constructs and each child was assigned a composite consumer intelligence score and a composite child-directed media consumption score. Using those scores, the study’s main hypothesis, that children’s consumer intelligence scores would be higher for children engaging in high levels of child-directed media consumption, was tested. This was accomplished through the use of a mixed methodology employing cluster analysis techniques. Four child-directed media consumption and four consumer intelligence typologies were identified for both first and fifth graders. These typologies were supported by both quantitative and qualitative data. Results did not support the main hypothesis, but results did suggest several theories regarding the relationship between high levels of child-directed media consumption and consumer intelligence. A consumer socialization model describing the relationship between parents, media, and peers, as suggested by the findings, is presented.