Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Celebrity culture and decline of family 'warps children's values'

Celebrity culture and decline of family 'warps children's values'

Author: Daily Mail Reporter
Publication: Daily Mail
Date: June 30, 2008
URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1030418/Celebrity-culture-decline-family-warps-childrens-values.html

Rising materialism, the cult of celebrity and the decline of extended families are all contributing to an erosion of children's values, a report warns today.

Youngsters are learning unhealthy messages such as the need to have a perfect body and to judge success in terms of acquiring material goods. At the same time, some parents are treating children as 'possessions' and not valuing them or family life enough.

The report, based on an inquiry by the Children's Society, found that two-thirds of 1,176 adults surveyed thought that the moral values of children today are not as strong as when they themselves were young.

Seven out of ten said that community values among children today are not as strong as previously. Over half thought there was more conflict between adults and children nowadays.

Only a third thought that attitudes towards young people in their neighbourhood were mostly positive. Experts who gave evidence to the inquiry said that the family was central to the teaching of values, along with schools and the community.

They stressed the need for parents to set clear boundaries for children to help them learn right from wrong. Children should also have the opportunity to develop their own sets of beliefs.

But they warned that society's view of children is 'frequently negative', with adults viewing them as 'problems to be solved' and 'at the bottom of the pecking order'.

'Professionals pointed out that children were often viewed as the possessions of their parents, instead of individuals that are entitled to the same protection and respect as everyone else,' the report says.

Some experts complained of an 'emphasis on material wealth and achievement, rather than modest lifestyles and close relationships'.

The report says: 'Professionals responding to the inquiry emphasised that children learn most of their values from adults and expressed apprehension about how certain trends in society are affecting the values children are learning.

'The rise in materialism, a preoccupation with celebrity and declining networks of support from community and extended family were all cited as negative factors.'

Experts expressed concern about the ' superficial messages' children are learning from the media. One said there were 'pressures to be perfect' in terms of body shape and to be successful 'judged primarily in terms of materialistic acquisition'.

Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children's Society, said: 'We reap what we sow when it comes to teaching children values. Every adult plays a vital role, which we should nurture as much as we can.'

The report is the sixth from The Good Childhood inquiry. It will publish its final recommendations in early 2009.

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