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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 November 2004, 12:22 GMT
Panorama: 2much2young
Anonymous girl putting on lipstick
BBC One, Sunday, 21 November 2004 at 22:15 GMT

If you are buying a Christmas present for a child this year, don't get them a toy.

That's because by the age of seven many British children will have closed the toy box forever.

These days children are more likely to ask Santa for Prada than My Little Pony. For iPods not Action Man.

Welcome to the world of the tweens - that's the word marketing men have coined for children aged between eight and twelve. They say today's tweens are growing up faster than ever before.

To find out how childhood is changing, Panorama has been to the West Midlands to spend a month in the life of three very different tweens and their families.

Meet Adele (9) who loves make-up and dresses in the best brands. When she grows up she wants to be famous.

Then there's Izaak (12) who says he's a real individual. He's a skater-boy who wants to be a rock star or an actor.

Imogen (12) is a little different. She avoids brand label goods - she'd prefer good value. She would like to write children's books or be a graphic designer.

The tweens are said to be the most materialistic generation of children in history spending over a billion pounds a year.

They watch 22,000 TV adverts a year and are reckoned to have a direct influence on sixty per cent of all parental expenditure.

Panorama asks if our children are really growing older, younger, and if so - what is the cost?

Production team:
Reporter: Justin Rowlatt
Producer: Fiona Gough
Editor: Mike Robinson
Deputy Editors: Andrew Bell, Frank Simmonds

Meet the Tweens
21 Nov 04 |  Panorama
Your comments
19 Nov 04 |  Panorama

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