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These days, 'what do you want to do when you grow up?' is the wrong question to ask children in the USA. The question should be: 'what job are you doing now?' American companies are employing more and more young people as consultants to evaluate products for child *consumers. The 12-to-19 age group spends more than a $100 billion a year in the USA. Specialist agencies have been created to help manufacturers ask kids about all the latest *trends in clothes, food and other markets. One firm, Teenage Research Unlimited, has panels of teenagers who give their verdict on products like jeans. Another company, Doyle Research Associated, holds two-hour sessions in a room called the 'imaginarium'. Children are encouraged to play games to get into a creative mood. They have to write down any ideas which come into their heads.
Some manufacturers prefer to do their own market research. The software company Microsoft runs a weekly 'Kid's Council' at its headquarters in Seattle, where a *panel of schoolchildren give their verdict on the latest products and suggest new ones. One 11-year-old, Andrew Cooledge, told them they should make more computer games which *appeal equally to boys and girls. Payments for the work are increasingly attractive. Andrew Cooledge was paid $250 and given some software. However, even if their ideas are valuable, the children will never make a fortune. They cannot have the copyright to their ideas. These are precarious jobs, too. By their mid-teens they can be told that they are too old.
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