"The Truth About Tweens"

Essay by polish00 December 2003

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"The Truth about Tweens" is an article dealing with issues facing children in the eight to fourteen age group. The article focuses on tweens' spending power, their insecurities and daily lives. The insets, "How Parents Can Help" and "The Age of Obsession", address the role of parents in the world of tweens.

The beginning of the article focuses on the buying power of tweens, or 8 to 14 year olds. Marketers often target these "highly impressionable consumers". The typical ten year old receives around fourteen dollars a week in spendable income. Most of this money goes to buy clothes; tweens view name brand clothes as one of the quickest routes to acceptance. The article also asserts that the spending power of tweens far exceeds their own income. James McNeal, professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, estimates that in 1997 tweens had direct influence over $128 billion in family spending.

Tweens have influence over which movies to family watches, the type of soda the family drinks and ever which type of car, or minivan, their parents buy.

A very valid question that the articles asks, and answers, is how this age group came to have so much influence over the family's consumer purchases. Guilt is one reason that the article identifies. Parents today often leave their children at home alone after school. Parents may try to replace quality time with material possessions. Parents may also offer material rewards in exchange for cooperation or good grades. Another reason the article gives is that most parents of tweens have more democratic ideals than previous generations of parents. Today's parents often ask their children's opinions; this makes it even harder for parents to say no to their children.

A variety of problems arise from tweens being given so much influence. First,