What Do Kids Really Want that Money Can't Buy?
courtesy of The Center for a New American Dream
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At a time when parents are struggling to raise healthy kids in a commercial culture, a new study provides a glimmer of hope into this important parenting issue. The nationwide poll commissioned by the non-profit Center for a New American Dream shows that what American kids really want is not more stuff, but more time with friends and family.
The study shows that 90% of kids ages 9-14 say friends and family are "way more important" than things that money can buy. And while a strong majority of survey participants say they feel pressure to buy things in order to fit in, nearly six out of ten say they'd rather spend time having fun with their parents than head out to the mall to go shopping.
Time Starvation Among Youth A Problem
The poll shows a real problem of time starvation among American youth, with almost one in four saying that their parents are too busy working to spend time with them. Perhaps most revealing, nearly two-thirds of children polled say they wish their parents had a job that gave them more free time to do things together, while a scant 13% wish their parents made more money.
Another fascinating finding offers rare insight from a child's perspective into the stresses that non-stop marketing to kids places on families. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of children surveyed said they worry that kid-targeted advertising causes trouble between them and their parents.
"The simple fact is that our kids need us now more than ever, and they know it," said Betsy Taylor, author of the newly released book What Kids Really Want That Money Can't Buy (2003, Warner Books) and president of the Center for a New American Dream. "As parents, we all struggle to do what's best for our children, and we really worry about them. The good news is that our kids recognize what really matters in their lives - family, friends and time."
Family and Friends are Most Important
- 90% of kids 9-14 say that friends and family are way more important than things that money can buy.
- 57% would rather spend time doing something fun with their mom or dad than go to the mall to go shopping.
Time Starvation is a Huge Problem
- Less than one in three kids 9-14 (32%) say they spend a lot of time with their parents.
Nearly one in four (23%) say this is primarily because their parents are too busy because of work.
- Almost one in five (19%) say this is primarily because they are overscheduled with homework or school activities.
Kids Want Job Flexibility for their Parents
- If they were granted one wish that would change their parents' job, 63% of kids 9-14 would want their mom or dad to have a job that gave them more time to do fun things together.
- Only 13% wished their parents made more money.
The Pressure to Have it All is Intense
- 63% express concern that there is too much advertising that tries to get kids to buy things.
58% feel pressure to buy stuff in order to fit in.
74% worry that advertising that tries to get kids to buy things causes trouble between kids and parents.
74% say it's too bad you have to buy certain things to be cool.
- 81% complain that lots of kids place way too much importance on buying things.
* Poll commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream and conducted in February 2002 by Widmeyer Communications. This information is based on a nationally representative telephone study of 746 American children ages 9-14. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.6%.
Ms. Betsy Taylor's book provides tips, resources and suggestions for parents. What Kids Really Want That Money Can't Buy: Tips for Parenting in a Commercial World will also inspire young people, who can flip through the book and see essays and artwork by more than 150 children ages 5-17, and reflect on the powerful and touching messages they share. This mix of children's voices and useful tips for parents makes What Kids Really Want That Money Can't Buy: Tips for Parenting in a Commercial World a rare find - a parenting book that kids and parents will want to read together. Available through newdream.org and Amazon.com
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