Spirit of childhood 'on the wane'
Dubai, March 22, 2012
The spirit of childhood – that is, the chance for children and adults alike to enjoy simple, carefree moments – may be destined for the endangered species list in the GCC, says a report.
The report released by Oreo brand and YouGov reveals that the vast majority of parents surveyed believe today’s kids are growing up quicker than previous generations. In fact, seven out of 10 parents regionally say their children should have more time to ‘just be kids’.
The research findings confirm results reached earlier in other parts of the world based on similar research conducted by Ipsos Media.
The idea that the spirit of childhood is on the decline is true not only for kids, but also adults. Parents everywhere yearn for the type of lighthearted enjoyment they had when they were kids. In fact, a majority of the UAE parents (67 percent) say they don’t have fun on a daily basis and 62 percent say they rarely experience the feelings of delight they did when they were children.
The “Global Spirit of Childhood Report,”conducted by YouGov in the region on behalf of Oreo, measured the spirit of childhood around the world in an effort to understand if people, both young and old, take the time to experience the simple joys of being a kid.
“As we regularly talk with consumers worldwide, we consistently hear about the importance of experiencing the carefree feelings of childhood at any age,” said Sheeba Philip, Global Brand Director for Oreo. “We believe this sentiment is more important now than ever before, so we conducted this research to learn more about the spirit of childhood worldwide.”
Family Fun: Worth Its Weight in Gold
While the report suggests the spirit of childhood may be at risk, parents’ desire to have fun with their children isn’t weakening. Three out of five parents (55 percent) say spending time having fun with their kids is more important to them than it was to their own parents when they were growing up.
Carefree fun has become such a rare treat for parents and their children that it’s worth its weight in gold – literally. More than half of parents surveyed (57 percent) say they would trade part of their salary in exchange for more time with their kids.
And, 84 percent of parents surveyed across the UAE even say having fun as a family is “more important than anything else.” Despite this overwhelming desire, 67 percent of adults are not spending moments of carefree fun on a daily basis.
Technology: A Double-Edged Sword
In a fast-motion 4G world, technology and social media have an increasingly dramatic impact on the dynamics of family life. While 68 percent of parents globally agree that technology helps their family stay connected, it may come at a cost.
When they’re spending time as a family, more than half of parents (55 percent) say that their families are distracted by technology. No group may experience this more than working parents, nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of which say their mobile devices and computer technology mean it is too easy to stay connected to work when spending time with family at home.
For today’s kids who have grown up with technology, its presence influences how they spend time with their parents and families. More than one-quarter of parents in the UAE (33 percent) say they communicate more with their children through technology than in-person.
There Is Hope
Despite pressures and distractions that affect the time families spend together and the state of childhood today, there’s hope. In fact, 83 percent of parents say they’re committed to making sure their kids don’t miss out on childhood and a majority (76 percent) say they themselves want to be more carefree like when they were children.
“Across continents and cultures, one thing we have in common is the desire to celebrate the kid inside all of us. 2012 marks the 100th birthday of Oreo. In recognition, we’ll be finding more ways to celebrate the spirit of childhood and make special, simple moments happen for families and Oreo fans around the world,” said Philip.
The survey was conducted during a two-week period in February 2012. More than 800 parents with children under the age of 18 participated in this study. Local surveys were conducted via online interviews in five countries, including: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. -TradeArabia News Service