A recent study by children's charity UNICEF has suggested that British children are less happy than those of other European countries. They have said that a ban on advertising to children might help to reduce their materialistic outlook, and that it also might encourage British families to spend more time with each other. The study claims that British parents sometimes buy their children too much stuff, to compensate for not spending time with them. UNICEF point out that in some countries there are restrictions on advertising to children, and in Sweden it is banned on TV. The BBC report can be seen on http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14908194
I have recently visited some East Asian countries, and it strikes me that Asian students on the MA Marketing might find such a view pretty strange. Materialism is alive and well among the aspiring classes in many Asian countries, yet to me it often seems to exist alongside strong values of family and education. Indeed, it reinforces them, in the sense that giving gifts or shopping together is strengthens relationship bonds. What is more, UNICEF claim that the British culture of long working hours and a long school day means that parents don't spend enough leisure time with their kids, yet many Asian parents and kids would work far longer hours.
Are UNICEF mis-reading the data on children in the UK, and is advertising just an easy target for criticism?
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