Materialistic society is ‘damaging’ children: poll

Yahoo! News 26 February 2008

Children feel under pressure to own the latest designer clothes and computer games and most adults believe the “commercialisation of childhood” is damaging young people’s well-being, a poll said Tuesday. A survey by GfK NOP for the Children’s Society showed that out of the 1,225 adults questioned, 89 percent felt that children are more materialistic now than in previous generations. Evidence submitted to the inquiry from children themselves suggests that they do feel under pressure to keep up with the latest trends, the society added. The poll is part of a larger inquiry into childhood and includes evidence by professionals and members of the public on issues such as lifestyle, learning, friends and family.

Professor of child psychology Philip Graham — who is leading the inquirys lifestyle theme — believes that commercial pressures may have “worrying psychological effects” on children. “One factor that may be leading to rising mental health problems is the increasing degree to which children and young people are preoccupied with possessions; the latest in fashionable clothes and electronic equipment. “Evidence both from the United States and from the UK suggests that those most influenced by commercial pressures also show higher rates of mental health problems,” he said.