Date of Conferral







Darragh Callahan


Children are being used as marketers and consumers for the purpose of financial gain. Although much research exists about children's stance as consumers, very little is known about their role as marketers. Such lack of information indicates that children's authentic voices about their experiences are seldom articulated, heard, listened to, and acted on. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological heuristic study was to explore the lived experiences of former child participants in commercial activities in order to understand their perceptions as well as, the meaning, and impact of the experiences on their childhood development. The theoretical framework used included the theories of Bandura's social learning, Bronfenbrenner's ecological system, Vygotsky's social constructivism, Knowles' andragogy, and Meziro's transformative learning. The primary questions focused on participants' perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes, as well as the meaning, and impact such lived experiences had on their childhood development. The final sample consisted of 13 adults above age 18 who participated in commercial activities during their childhood and were selected through the snowballing technique. Data were collected, analyzed, and manually coded from multiple individual and focus group interviews. The thematic results and findings are necessary labor, cultural practice, belief system, power of tangible and intangible rewards, independent mobility factor, social dangers of risk factor, participants' affective response, and experiential learning. Implications for social change include the establishment of partnerships among schools, children, parents, and commercial industries to strengthen advocacy for, and effect improved conditions and treatment of child participants in commercial activities.