trend watch!

Report on research from a CNN.com site:

What do tweens value most? If you are thinking honesty or self-acceptance think again. What they value above everything else, according to a new study from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), is fame. Other individualistic values, such as financial success and physical fitness are also high on the wish list.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychology Research on Cyberspace, found children aged 9 to 11 now hold “fame” as their No. 1 value. Fame ranked 15th [out of 16] in 1997.

Curious, I thought. Kids these days. So I clicked over to look at the study. How did they have children rate what values were most important to them? Answer: not at all. Instead, the study was a content analysis of the values important to two of the most popular programs among kids these ages in their respective years. For 2007, those shows were “American Idol” and “Hannah Montana,” compared to “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Boy Meets World.” On that basis is borne the CNN.com conclusion that tweens ten years ago could care less about fame, and now it is the most important thing in the world to them.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

5 thoughts on “trend watch!”

  1. Uh, Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina) was to 1997 what Hannah Montana is now: the person the kids grew up seeing on television, from You Can’t Do That on Television (the Nickelodeon show that bloody originated the now-ubiquitous green slime) to Clarissa Explains It All to You. (If you go back even further, she’s the one who kept beating out Sarah Michelle Gellar for commercials that needed a 3-7 year old girl to Do Something Cute.)

    In fact, Hart is probably closer to Selena Gomez (from Barney to Wizards of Waverly Place) or Miranda Cosgrove (School of Rock, Drake and Josh, iCarly) in the famous-for-being-well-known category than Billy Ray Bollocks’s daughter is.

    If I were writing the article, I would argue (using the same information) that the kids of today are less obsessed with fame, but more interested in music, than they were 15-ish years ago.

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  2. First, wow, that’s some very bad reporting and (seemingly) poor research.

    Second, even though I was a bit (much?) too old for it, I rather enjoyed “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” Not sure if it was because it had echos of “Bewitched” or if the adults were sympathetic and the kids semi-realistic, but it’s a pretty pleasant show and not terribly anti-feminist, as I recall. Not sure about the contemporary equivalents, but my sense is they aren’t as good quality. Not at all sure about the values question, though.

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  3. And the kicker will be when a student of mine cites CNN to support their argument that they have excellent family values while their peers do not.

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