KID-TASTIC: So, You Want to Moderate with Kids & Teens?

By Pam Goldfarb Liss

Have you heard about Generation Z (aka iGen) and the wonder of their multi-leveled relationship with technology?  Do you know about the exciting collaborative relationship happening between kids and their parents?  Are you one of those people who wonder at the unfiltered way kids and teens react to new ideas? Is this a group of consumers you’d like to learn from?

Kids are now part of the important consumer conversation with family purchases like food, electronics, and even cars because they can more easily “research” brands and ideas online than their parents. Their influencing opinion is often weighed more strongly by mom and dad because they know more. Kids and Teens are important consumers, but different from adults, requiring additional skills for moderators.

Interestingly enough, kids and teens are often part of a typical purchase dynamic that goes like this:


Translate the above for almost any family purchase decision – groceries, electronics, vacations, etc. – and you will understand the importance older elementary-age kids and teens play in your company or client’s business decisions. This new parent-child dynamic changes the whole process of parent as the “gate keeper” to parent as the “gate opener.”

With younger kids, the purchase dynamic surrounds a well-honed discussion about child’s desires that result in a smart series of presented choices for a child to insert opinions. Mom and dad hope this discussion will prevent any potential dislike.

Consider this process with younger kids looking more like this:


Moderators looking to navigate this new active kid and teen consumer will want to take into consideration the differences that moderating with young people requires.

These differences affect everything from your screener – identifying the kids and teens who fit with your client’s objectives AND uncovering the knowledgeable kid or teen who can articulate this subtlety —to a rhythmic discussion guide varying the pace of individual-to-small group-to-big group exercises to dig deeper. Additionally, the adept kid and teen moderator will understand nuances to keep kids and teens engaged throughout the qualitative event from stocking the lobby area with appropriate low-sugar, allergy-free snacks to keeping the ever-watchful mom or dad involved and supportive of your project.

The new course: RIVA 205: Moderating with Kids and Teens was created to encourage moderators to shape their practices around this evolving new family consumer dynamic. The course offers a series of best practice ideals with room to grow with one’s own style.

The new course is in its second year, tailoring itself to student’s own practice needs, by offering:

  • Age-by-age cognitive capabilities in typical qualitative research environments (QREs)
  • Practical advice for recruiting and engaging articulate kids and teens with well-honed screener, homework, projective exercise tools and discussion guide examples
  • Opportunities to shape your individual styles with kids and teens through moderation opportunities with real-life kid and teen respondents
  • Evaluations from experienced professional moderators focused on ways to move your practice into winning-experience

RIVA 205 is scheduled for an June 9-11, 2014 3-day course. This is a limited class size to encourage more hands-on experience. Act now and become the kid-and-teen friendly moderator you’ve always wanted to be!!!

Contact Emily at to for more information or to register.


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