Children today feel they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and need some form of release from or help in processing this.
Understanding and addressing this could be invaluable for marketers. Children are worrying about things that we might not expect them to and acknowledging this may well open new routes to creating something relevant to ease children’s minds, whether through programming, gaming or toys.
With daily revelations and tales of woe about the current economic climate, it is hardly surprising that as adults our lives have become focused on how to survive the credit crunch.
The worries of children can seem small and insignificant in comparison to what is occurring in the wider world. However, research conducted over the past year by qualitative agency Young Direction (specialists in researching children and young adults) has found that children aged 7-14 are losing sleep over issues that are just as big and very real to them and which are affecting their daily lives.
If we look back over the past few years, the structure of children’s lives has radically changed due to technology and the ready access they now have to all sorts of issues.
For all the benefits this access to information brings, there are as many negatives, including full blown exposure to the more adult themes children are now concerning themselves with. No longer is there the safety net of ‘not in front of the children’. Children are reading news sites, browsing adult celebrity magazines and seeing images and content that they then have to deal with and process.
Young Direction has compiled the issues into a 2009 Kids Worry List drawing on face to face qualitative research conducted over the past year, talking to boys and girls aged 7-14 across the UK.
Today’s children’s worry list
- Nasty Things in the World
- Boats sinking/Planes crashing
- House catching fire
- Parents not returning home from work/nights out
- Grandparents dying
- Family Problems
- Autistic brother
- Family arguments
- Parents not loving each other
- Dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters
- Being run over, eaten by foxes, running away, being lonely
- The Environment
- Global warming
- The world coming to an end
- Losing friends when moving to secondary school
- Being thin enough (for older girls specifically)
YD selected a number of key comments from the children it interviewed….
“I see stuff on the TV about terrorism and I’m really worried that they are going to come over here”
“Since everything that has happened with Maddy McCann, I do worry, I’m always telling my little sister to be careful”
“I get really nervous about test papers and exams, my hands get really sweaty and I just seem to forget everything. It’s really horrible”
“I wish we didn’t have global warming so that the world could live because us children are going to be left with saving the world”
“I get really worried that my dog gets lonely but what can I do?”
“If the wars would just stop then we probably wouldn’t have to worry about nasty people”
“I am always thinking to myself ‘is my grandpa going to die any second?’”
“When my parents go out I can’t go to sleep until they get home, I just worry that they are going to have a crash and die”