Recent study shows that kiddy and grownup television shows, as well as Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, are now teaching us it is more important to be famous and rich than to be kind and selfless.
On a years long study of kids 9-11 years of age, fame jumped from number 15 in both 1987 and 1997 to Numero Uno in 2007.
Benevolence, which was #2 in 1997 dropped to 13th place. Community feeling went from #1 to 11th.
Why is this? Because instead of watching Andy Griffith, the Waltons, or any of Michael Landon’s series, they now watch American Idol, Survivor, and Hannah Montana.
Narcissism is now the new Benevolence. Sadly, parents are often involved in this too, as they push their kids into intense sports or music programs at school, in hopes the kid will be at the center of attention.
Recently, a small child told me that the only hot dogs he’ll eat are Hebrew National. Now, I grant I also like the brand. But he absolutely refused to eat the decent hot dogs I offered to him. Has television and the events of the 21st century caused our kids to go so far off the deep end that they not only want the best, but believe it should be delivered to them on a
silver gold platter?
“The top five values in 2007 were fame, achievement, popularity, image and financial success. In 1997, the top five were community feeling, benevolence (being kind and helping others), image, tradition and self-acceptance….
“Their growth parallels the rise in narcissism and the drop in empathy among college students in the United States, as other research has shown. We don’t think this is a coincidence. Changes we have seen in narcissism and empathy are being reflected on television. In the past, children had their home, community and school; now they have thousands of ‘friends’ who look at their photos and their posts and comment on them. The growth of social media gives children access to an audience beyond the school grounds.”
“Even when parents are an active presence in their children’s lives, peers and media go hand in hand, and peers can be more influential than parents,” said Uhls (the researcher), who has an 11-year-old daughter. “Teens and tweens have the ability to talk with their friends 24/7. The ability for an average person to access an audience is new. Technology has given kids pathways to reach an audience as never before, and they are able to use the technology at a young age.
Perhaps the only thing we can do to fight this trend is turn off the television, take away the cell phone and the IPad, turn off today’s society, and force feed our kids on serving others at the soup kitchen…