Study says kids exert ‘powerful influence’ in family entertainment

By Nathalie Tomada

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Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) launches its global study Kid Power at the Nickelodeon Upfront event held at Dusit Thani Manila

MANILA, Philippines — How much of an influence do children wield in decisions made at home, including what the whole family chooses for entertainment?

You could say a lot, based on the findings of Kid Power, a 2017 global study undertaken by Viacom, the media conglomerate that owns the child-oriented entertainment brand Nickelodeon.

Presented to the Philippine media and industry partners last week, Kid Power explores “kids around the world and the powerful influence they exert within their households,” the dynamics between kids and parents around brand choices, plus how Filipino kids are different from the others across the globe. The research, which was conducted by way of an online questionnaire, spanned 30 countries, 4,900 kids aged six to 11, and 4,100 of their parents.

This was what Viacom found out: Virtually all kids have a role in the decision-making in households in the Philippines (97 percent) and the world (98 percent), and that parents take into consideration what their children’s opinions are.

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Christian Kurz, SVP of Global Consumer Insights for Viacom, talks about the findings of Kid Power

Christian Kurz, senior vice president of Global Consumer Insights at Viacom, said in a statement: “There is a different undercurrent in families today and the changing relationship means that parents and kids are now working as teams. Subsequently, this translates to how kids exert surprising influence when it comes to brand choices and decision-making in a home, and our research shows the depth of this influence.”

Categories that kids show the “most influence” are entertainment, groceries, restaurants and electronics.

The largest percentages of kids say they affect decisions are around entertainment (97 percent both global and the Philippines), food and groceries (94 percent global, 97 percent Philippines), restaurants (84 percent global, 89 percent Philippines), electronics (82 percent global and 85 percent Philippines), vacation (76 percent global, 72 percent Philippines), and telecom/pay TV/SVOD (52 percent global, 58 Philippines).

The survey noted that the areas in the country where kids’ input holds most sway, are toys (96 percent), movies at home (93 percent), snacks (92 precent), clothes (87 percent), watching television shows together (85 percent), and going to fast food restaurants together (84 percent).

“What we are really saying (is) the combination of all those things means that families are more and more turning towards ‘democracies’ rather than ‘dictatorships’ if you will. And yes, of course, the parents still have the ultimate say, but it’s 97 percent of all parents (surveyed) in the Philippines saying that their kid has impact on household decisions. That’s a humongous number but that, of course, varies in how big the influence is and what they have an influence on,” Kurz told The STAR in a separate interview. 

Other results from the Kid Power survey:

Running the household practically involves everyone. Almost seven out of 10 parents globally state that their kids help at home. The Philippines, however, registered a higher number with 80 percent of kids helping out at home. According to Pinoy parents, most common tasks kids do are cooking, shopping or cleaning (53 percent) and childcare (44 percent).

The research also studied the amount of help flowing in and out of the household. It said that kids receive assistance with childcare from grandparents. At the same time, 56 percent of Pinoy kids also lend a helping hand to extended family or relatives outside their homes, which meant a 26-percent increase from the global average. Viacom said that it could be attributed to the multi-generational structure prevalent in Filipino households. Kurz revealed that other than India, the Philippines has the biggest number of families living in the same house as grandparents (41 percent versus 13 percent global).

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Dinna Zaratan is Viacom country manager for the Philippines

The Kid Power survey also touched on Internet use, indicating that kids around the world are increasingly describing themselves as “curious” (89 percent global, 92 percent Philippines). Access to Internet-enabled technology is what encourages this curiosity. Plus, they have more devices at their disposal for “playing games, communication and finding out information.” The percentages of kids aged nine to 11 (global versus Philippines) who own or habitually use these devices are as follows: Smartphone ­­—72 percent/88 percent; tablet — 72 percent/84 percent; and Smart TV — 50 percent/42 percent.

Boys and girls also hold similar level of persuasive powers in the Philippines. Kurz said that kids with more influence are those who have siblings, have working parents and are living in urban areas. The Viacom executive believes that these numbers will continue to grow as more families live and work in urban areas.

Nevertheless, Kid Power found out that even with these shifting family dynamics, the parent is “still the boss” in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. Kids acknowledge that the parent has the ultimate say (72 percent global, 63 percent Philippines); and parents claim that their partner is the boss of the household (76 percent global, 62 percent Philippines).

Saying that research is the foundation of everything that they do at Nickelodeon, so that they know how children consume media, learn what is happening in their real world and reflect them in content that speaks to them, Kurz said that Kid Power goes to show that “kids are very, very much involved in conversations in how to help each other. Kids are becoming curious in how the world works, and we’re seeing parents very much asking their kids for their opinions as well.”

He added, “There are two takes to that: One reason is, if I want my kids to be a responsible adult at some point, then I don’t want them to protect them from all these decisions. I want them to be involved so we can have this conversation like ‘I don’t want you to have this toy today because you just bought this,’ etc. And those types of conversations are happening younger and younger. Kids are very much aware of that as well. Kids are wanting to be involved because it validates them.”

Another takeaway for him is that family entertainment continues to be very important. “One of the things we saw in this and in other pieces of research, sitting down and watching something together as a family is a key bonding moment in the household. So that means, content choices are very, very important for parents as well as for the kids.”

Kurz also stressed that the survey was done online. “Sometimes, we asked the parents and the children the same questions, and more often than not, their answers were very much aligned, which is also interesting because they know what each other think. But it was an online survey. So for the Philippines, it was representative only of people who are online which is not the whole country, and we’re very aware of that. But we’re particularly interested in the future... and the emergent trends.”

Early this year, a report on Internet trends called Digital in 2017 released by Hootsuite and We Are Social said that as of January 2017, 58 percent of the over 100 million Filipinos have access to the Internet.

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