A research done by Allison Pugh which later got published as a book called Longing and Belonging:
Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture, in 2009 where she studied children in their natural habitat
talks about why children are always asking for the latest toy/ gadget. She noticed that children use the
latest toy as a means of communication amongst themselves and having such a toy will make them feel
part of a group. This also gives children a sense of belonging and acceptance no matter the culture or
race. She also noticed that children would make sure that they know all the information needed on the
toy even if they don’t have it, in order to be able to discuss with others. They will talk things like ‘ yes
level 5 is not easy to complete’ or ‘ that feature is really cool’ so as to tag along.
On the other hand parents have different opinions on always purchasing the latest toys. Parents coming
from a better-off background explain that they don’t always feel they have to buy this toys so as to
teach their children that they cannot always have what they want and that they need to work hard to
obtain it. Conversely families coming from a poorer background explain that they sometimes buy the
gadget/toy in order to make sure that their children don’t suffer any kind of bullying and also to hide the
fact that they are poor.
It is interesting to take this into consideration when seeing your children’s wish list this Christmas!
Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture
By Allison J. Pugh
Therisa Gambin is a psychology graduate who worked in the HR sector for the past
4 years. She decided to change her career path and thus is at present an intern at
Willingness and will continue to focus on psychology practices.