Children ‘damaged’ by materialism
A recent poll asked the question: ‘Do you believe children's well-being is being damaged because childhood has become too commercial?’
And the startling result: 89% of adults in the 1,255 sample believed today's children were more materialistic than previous generations.
This, of course, proves nothing except that 1117 had opinion one way and 138 the other, though some may assert that this 11% is either stupid or ignorant. The effects of the advertising media upon children in the UK has been considerable, and the pressure upon parents to equip their children with the latest gadgets, trainers or ‘lifestyle accessory’ is a major contributory cause of financial hardship which may lead to family breakdown. Too many children are growing up in a world saturated with false models of happiness and being lured by unscrupulous adults into the dead-end street of consumerism.
Other revelations of this survey include:
69% agree violent video games make children more aggressive
90% believe Christmas advertising puts pressure on parents to spend more than they can afford
60% believe there should be a government ban on junk food advertising
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is patron of the inquiry ‘Reflections on Childhood’, said: "Children should be encouraged to value themselves for who they are as people rather than what they own. The selling of lifestyles to children creates a culture of material competitiveness and promotes acquisitive individualism at the expense of the principles of community and co-operation."
Not quite a Sun headline, but the BBC managed to reproduce it without distortion.
According to psychologist Professor Philip Graham, Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Institute of Child Health in London: "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."
Does this not just fill one with confidence about all our tomorrows? These children are our future doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, company directors… and our church leaders and politicians.
At least, by then, ‘mental health problems’ will be perceived as a relatively normal state of affairs.