August 21st, 2012

TV ads may make unhappy tweens materialistic

By Becky Oskin

Finally some good news for parents of tweens: A new study shows that marketers may not influence kids as much as many think.

Many parents already know older children can be materialistic. Some tweens not only want the latest games and clothes, but also think owning these things will bring them happiness, friends and popularity. And marketers are eager to get them to buy: Tweens spend $28 billion a year, not including the more than $200 billion their parents spend on them, according to market research company C+R Research.

But Dutch tweens who are happy with their lives are immune to the corrosive effects of materialism and watching hours of television, the study found. Only children who were both unhappy at the study’s start and logged a lot of TV time were susceptible to the siren call of marketing. For these kids, frequently seeing advertising made them more materialistic, the researchers discovered.

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