It’s important that Fun Kids is in tune with its audience. We recently commissioned a report asking kids about their views on a myriad of different subjects. Here’s the release:
Now, the first major new opinion study of kids – the iGeneration Report from Fun Kids Radio – does just that. This groundbreaking study researched 2,000 children aged eight to fourteen on topics such as sexualisation, sexuality, diet and even immigration – and reveals that kids are far more self aware, self-monitoring and self-protective than parents give them credit.
On the basis of the finding that children as young as eight are well-informed, mindful of their behaviour and have strong opinions, the report highlights how key decision makers in kids’ lives should consider giving this unrepresented demographic of eight to fourteen year olds more of a voice within society – and more autonomy when decisions concerning their future are made.
In particular, kids themselves are most concerned about the pop industry and the increasing ‘sexiness’ of musicians and their music videos – such as those of Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Robin Thicke. Despite parents’ fears – with one in 20 (4 per cent) banning their kids from watching these videos – over one in ten kids (13 per cent) wished their videos were ‘less sexy’, with 11 per cent stating they would respect the stars more if they wore more clothes.
One in ten (11 per cent) admitted the videos make them feel uncomfortable – leading to almost a third (28 per cent) stating that pop stars should set a better example.
In fact, over a third (31 per cent) of modern kids would make the independent decision to stop listening to a pop star’s music if they personally stopped respecting them – with another 30 per cent stopping if they took drugs, and a quarter (24 per cent) if they broke the law. One in seven (14 per cent) even shun artists if they find their lyrics to be offensive – demonstrating the iGeneration’s ability to make mature decisions about their own media consumption.
Commenting on the findings, pop star Ella Eyre said: “This survey shows just how important it is for singers and bands to listen to the opinions of their young fans. There’s just no need to be provocative or raunchy in music videos aimed at kids.”
Another current parenting concern – over ‘gendered’ toys and clothing – looks remarkably different when viewed through a child’s eyes. Over a third (33 per cent) of kids don’t care if toys are labeled for boys or girls – they like playing with what they like.
The same amount also feel that ‘kids don’t care’ what gender a toy is for – and a whopping 85 per cent think that toys should be egalitarian. Despite this, over a tenth (13 per cent) of parents don’t allow their children to play with toys that ‘aren’t suitable’ for their gender.
The same applies to clothing – two in every five (40 per cent) kids don’t think it matters if clothes are in ‘boys’ or ‘girls’ colours. This doesn’t stop one in seven parents who only buy their kids clothes in the ‘traditional colours’ for their gender – despite the one in ten (9 per cent) of kids who get annoyed by this.
The iGeneration Report also looked the values kids place on themselves and their lives, revealing that the most pressing concerns for kids are to be happy (54 per cent), clever (30 per cent), kind (27 per cent) and have a loving family (34 per cent).
Parental concerns over the impact of shows such as X Factor and Big Brother appear to be groundless, with only 3 per cent thinking it’s important to be able to sing / dance and a tiny one per cent wanting to be famous.
When it comes to what’s important in other people, the iGeneration could well be shaping up to be the most tolerant yet – not needing to be shielded from life by anxious adults.
A huge 90 per cent of kids aren’t worried about racial difference, not caring where their friends are from so long as they are good people. And with all the debate around what kids are taught in PSHE lessons, when asked about sexuality a hopeful two fifths (38 per cent) think anyone should be allowed to marry – as long as they love each other. Interestingly, when asked about marriage, one in ten kids (9 per cent) think the whole concept is old-fashioned.
Despite having rocketing disposable incomes – with the average child receiving £5 per week – the Report also reveals kids are fiscally aware, with one in four (24 per cent) worrying about the family’s finances. This leads to surprising philanthropy, with 12 per cent of kids saving their pocket money to help out their parents – and four per cent even saying no to pocket money as they are aware that their parents are struggling.
This financial cognisance also impacts on kids’ thoughts on their future – with children as young as eight already taking note of the state of the economy when considering their careers. A fifth (21 per cent) of iGeneration kids would forgo university to get a job as soon as they left school to earn money instead and under half said they wanted to go to university (46 per cent). The cost of education was a big factor, as 15 per cent of kids under the age of 14 already think that university will cost too much.
This mature attitude also extends to healthy lifestyles, another top parenting concern. A third (32 per cent) of kids know they should spend more time outside – but one in five (20 per cent) say their parents stop them from doing so. One in four (24 per cent) even connect technology with their lifestyle, admitting they would get out more if they had less tech to play with.
The habit of iGeneration to self-monitor and make their own sensible decisions didn’t just apply to their parents – it also related to their school and teachers. Perhaps Nicky Morgan could take note of the results of the iGeneration Report in her new role, as a tenth (10 per cent) of kids aged eight to fourteen don’t think that they given enough to do in lessons at school – three per cent even wish they had more homework.
Speaking about the findings of the Report, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health Cary Cooper at Lancaster University:
“It’s good to see that young children aren’t just interested in the obvious things such as pop music and football any more, now we see more and more children also having interests in meatier subjects like politics, and what’s more they’re beginning to form their own opinions about it. The iGeneration is more independent, and they’re not influenced solely by pop stars, footballers or even their parents – they have enough about themselves to form their own opinions.
“This heightened sense of individuality comes about due to exposure to a multitude of media. Social media may seem trivial to some of the older generation but for the young amongst us it’s a rich source of learning and a great place to read about news and popular culture – through it children can see all elements of topic and then form and shape their own opinions.
“In the USA, like here, two out of three families are working parents; whilst the parents work, the ‘latchkey kids’ learn from the plethora of media outlets available to them, thus they’re learning quicker and less likely to be solely influenced by their parents or the TV alone – perhaps a similar phenomenon is occurring here.”
Matt Deegan, station manager of Fun Kids Radio said:
“The iGeneration report has presented some really interesting findings. A standout point is that children aren’t as impressionable as previously thought. They enjoy the popstars and entertainers they see on TV and hear on the radio, but the majority know enough about themselves to not be influenced into making negative life choices as a result.
“Here at Fun Kids Radio we want to make sure that children’s voices are listened to, which is why it’s so great to see with these findings that children are attuned with what’s going on around them, and kids as young as eight are clearly well-informed and have strong opinions.
“Despite this, they are the most unrepresented demographic so we think that parents, politicians and companies should consider consulting kids when decisions concerning their future are made, so that children can have an influence over their own lives.”
Research of 2,000 UK children aged 8-14 years old commissioned by Fun Kids Radio was conducted by OnePoll between 20/06/14 – 30/06/14.
Find out more at www.funkidsigeneration.com