Kids materialistic, altruistic

Though teens and “tweens” in America are materialistic on the whole, that doesn’t mean they aren’t generous, a new study says.

The online survey of 1,213 U.S. children and teens ages 8 to 18, conducted by Harris Interactive, found their generosity is dependant in part on a youth’s gratitude for his or her belongings.

The survey was conducted in partnership with professors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Teens and children who are materialistic, but not grateful for what they have, tend to be less inclined toward generous acts, the survey says.

Both groups responded to the survey by reporting that money and access to technology were important factors driving their happiness, as were friends and family.

In spite of their focus on money and belongings, a majority of respondents say they enjoy helping others, sharing their favorite things, raising money for needy people and doing favors for friends or family.

Those youth who reported appreciation for loved ones and a desire to help them also were most likely to express generosity toward strangers and those less fortunate, the study says.

By teaching children appreciation for their belongings and loved ones, parents may be helping to counter the negative effects of materialism, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher says in a statement.

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