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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Poorer children 'watch more TV'
children watching TV
Poorer children were more likely to want a high-paying job
Children in poorer areas are twice as likely to have televisions in their rooms as those in affluent areas, a National Consumer Council survey found.

Some 550 children aged nine to 13 filled in researchers' questionnaires.

Nearly half the affluent children had TVs in their bedrooms - and almost all (97%) of those in deprived areas.

Poorer children were six times more likely to watch TV during their evening meals, more likely to watch commercial TV and to believe claims in adverts.

Chief executive Ed Mayo said: "This research is the first in the UK to explore in depth the connections between the wellbeing of our children and the commercial world that surrounds them.

"The report warns against simplistic claims, whether by commercial advocates of more marketing to children or by critics who argue that there is a 'loss of childhood' underway in Britain."

The researchers obtained the views of children in six schools: two primary schools and one secondary in areas ranked in the top and bottom 15% for affluence.

Their report - Watching, Wanting and Wellbeing - said children were not only watching programmes aimed at their age group.

Fewer than half of those aged 12 and 13 listed any children's programme in their 'top three' while children as young as nine picked out other programmes as favourites, including soaps, reality television and horror, the NCC said.

Their report says children in deprived areas were much more motivated by money: 69% agreed the only kind of job they wanted when they grew up one that got them lots of money, compared with 28% in affluent areas.

Most children - 83% - felt good about themselves. About a fifth said neither of their parents was at all "cool". Nine per cent thought mum was "boring", 12% thought dad was.

Across the areas, children with more materialistic attitudes tended to have lower self-esteem, a lower opinion of their parents and more family arguments.

The report concludes: "Perhaps one of the most important findings of our study is the uncovering of a divided society, in which different communities display very different attitudes to media consumption and, concomitantly, display very different levels of materialism.

"In this study, commercial influence was shown to be exerted unevenly across the population, as children in deprived areas seemingly had a great deal more unrestricted TV and computer access."

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