Researchers have identified what today’s tweens—that’s children ages 9 to 11—value most in life.
It’s not family. It’s not friends.
And not so much the Irene Cara “Baby, remember my name” kind of hard-work fame based on the blood, sweat and tears of real talent, as the Lady Gaga “All we care about is runway models, Cadillacs and liquor bottles” kind of instant fame based on the cult of celebrity.
But that’s not all they value. I mean, come on! There’s more to tweens lives than just being famous. Apparently, they've also decided one can never be too rich or too thin. Wealth and physical fitness nipped close at the glittery platform heels of fame.
The Rise of Fame: An Historical Content Analysis, a study conducted by researchers at UCLA, blames television programming and the “expansion of communication technologies”—the Internet and social media— for the radical shift away from traditional values. It also warns us that American youth may not be making the effort to attain future goals and accomplishments. They may simply sit around waiting for a reality TV series to fall into their laps—however long that may take.
The study’s co-author told CNN: “[Tweens] are unrealistic about what they have to do to become famous,” said Patricia Greenfield, Ph.D., from the department of psychology at UCLA. “They may give up on actually preparing for careers and realistic goals.”
Published in the Journal of Psychological Research on Cyberspace, the study says the proliferation of television shows that promote fame and celebrity, such as American Idol and Hannah Montana, coupled with increased exposure to the Internet through YouTube, Facebook, online fan clubs and other social media, has caused tweens to lose sight of values such as being part of a community or having a good reputation.
What do you think about this study? What do your children talk about in terms of their futures? Do they want to go to college? Do they want to own a business?
Do they want to be famous? Why?