Academic journal article Education

Parent and Adolescent Interaction in Television Advertisements as Consumer Socialization Agents

Academic journal article Education

Parent and Adolescent Interaction in Television Advertisements as Consumer Socialization Agents

Article excerpt

Young people today become consumers at an earlier age than their parents used to do. Indeed, they become consumers in their own right while they are still children (Ahava and Palojoki, 2004; Brusdal, 2006). Young people in modern societies need things in order to participate in certain activities, and express their social identity. Therefore, adolescence has become almost synonmous with possessing consumer goods (Lueg and Ponder, 2006). A young population carries implications for marketing and advertising. According to UNFPA, approximately half of the world's population is under the age of 25. The rate of adolescents within this population is estimated to be around 16% (www.unfpa.org, 2007). In Turkey, approximately 41% of the population is under the age of 22. Such a young national population creates a powerful demand for marketing. As is the case in other parts of the world, Turkish youth have a high tendency to consume. On the one hand, expenses are being made for their education and, on the other, they strive to own high-technology products such as computers or mobile phones (Capital, 2007). As 60% of young Turkish consumers dwell in cities and receive better education than in the past, they come in contact with mass communication tools and are better able to follow global trends. These youngsters have altered consumer values and adopt "seize the day" as their motto, which increases their consumer expenses. Obviously, market stimulants such as television advertisements also have a role in the development of new consumer habits (www.tuik.gov.tr).

In our day, adolescents' consumption habits are shaped by three important factors. First, adolescents grow into an environment of diverse products and services. Secondly, parents today want their children to grow up into independent individuals who can make their own decisions. Finally, modern day adolescents are more frequently exposed to marketing on television or the Internet. These environmental factors affect young people's consumption habits (Assael, 1987; Solomon, 2004).

Background and Literature Review

Consumer socialization

Socialization is the process whereby a person learns the value system, norms and required behaviour patterns of a given society in which he belongs (Engel, Blackwell and Miniard, 1986; Assael, 1987; McGregor, 2001). Drawing on this, Ward and Wackman (1974) define consumer socialization as the process "by which young people acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes relevant to their functioning as consumers in the market place". Hence, consumer socialization concerns itself with how individuals become consumers (Lueg and Ponder, 2006). Gaining a better understanding of this process provides insights into how young people acquire motivations, attitudes and behaviours about the global marketplace (Moschis, 1987). Such adolescent consumer socialization is shaped collectively by media, parents and peers (Nelson and Mcleod, 2005).

Parents as agents of consumer socialization

Parents and other family members can be regarded as the primary agents of consumer socialization. In reality, socialization is the lifelong process of acquisition and modification of various sets of skills, knowledge and attitudes (Ward and Wackman, 1974; Assael, 1987; Solomon, 2004). Moschis (1987) writes that parents play an important role in the consumer socialization of children, and are instrumental in teaching them about relevant consumer aspects. Mocshis (1987) called for more research into a better understanding of the effects of family influence in the consumer socialization of adolescents. If parents are the primary agent for consumer socialization, their perceptions as to when children are ready to become involved in various consumption situations is critical in understanding the nature of family influence (Danes, 1994).

Parental influences in consumer socialization are classified as either direct or indirect. …

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