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Home > Culture and Society

Kids against litter and satan

24 December 2004

Recently a poll of under-10s found that what they craved most was fame, ranking above a scatological list of other desirable things, including, in order: their family, football, holidays, God, discos, chocolate and sunshine. Amusingly, in a list of their 'worst things', the Devil came at number 10, ranking considerably lower than 'being bored' and 'litter'.

Poor old Satan. Once, the world was in his thrall, with witch-bobbings and burnings galore. Now he's considerably less menacing than a discarded packet of Walker's Cheese & Onion.

Some pundits boldly concluded that kiddies' fixation with fame was the product of a fixation with fame. Well, you can't deny that there are more celebrities than ever. One 'expert' suggested that had the poll been carried out even just 10 years ago, being famous would not have ranked as highly as it did. Generally, it was considered that the poll findings were A Bad Thing.

But is this true? Maybe it's healthier to want to be one of Girls Aloud than just wet yourself every time you see a poster of the Bay City Rollers. Both bands are/were equally rubbish, but that's beside the point.

What the experts seem to be suggesting is that nursing unrealistic hopes of quick-fix success as a pop star or TV presenter are going to lead to a lot of shattered dreams later in life. Possibly. But that's called 'growing up'. And if failed wannabe musicians are the problem, it's not the kids we should thinking of, it's the poor sods in their mid-30s still playing in no-hope bands whose nearest brush with actual fame was supporting Diesel Park West in 1991.

It's quite possible that kiddies' attitudes have changed significantly from 10 or 20 years ago. But you have to cast your mind back to what you wanted to be (if anything) when you were under 10. This contributor seems to recall that it was simply 'Avon from Blake's 7', something that could reasonably be described as an unrealistic ambition. And, frankly, not a very healthy one. Tell a social worker you want to be an amoral, cold-blooded killer with an interest in cyber-crime and you'd be in care before you could say 'Sentiment breeds weakness!'

If anything, the poll revealed that today's kids are engagingly harmless. The number one worst thing was bullies, followed by a rather traditional choice: smoking. When you're eight, everyone is 'against' smoking, along with drugs, drinking and not cycling without lights. You'll learn, kiddies. You'll learn.

That said, there was one choice that was deeply worrying. Offered the chance to make rules if they were 'king or queen of the world', the sixth most desired thing was 'more magic'.

More? The mind boggles...



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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