News Brief

How Tweens and Teens Think, Act and Buy

American youth aged 8-17 continue to say that TV commercials and other types of advertising influence their purchase decisions, according to the 2000 Roper Youth Report, an annual syndicated research study focused on American kids, tweens and teens released today.

The 250-page report explores the mood of young Americans and their growing optimism, their developing sense of self and the elements nurturing that identity, and interactions with family and friends. Other key topics: the activities that occupy youth at home and school, the electronic/digital bedroom, favorite media and content, the impact of the Internet, consumerism and favorite brands.

- Kids' sense of self is increasingly defined by their relationships. Young people say family and friends are the two things that say most about who they are, followed by personal traits such as good grades and taste in music and clothing.

- American youth place increasing value on personal development. Kids are more likely to daydream about traveling around the world, being smarter and being more popular than they fantasize about being rich. More than half of teens say being a good student is a status symbol.

- One in four kids doesn't feel he or she has enough free time. For what? Most likely to play games, particularly high-tech ones.

- A 57% majority of American kids have TVs in their rooms, up 7 points in two years. They are also more likely than they were to have their own stereos, VCRs, cable-satellite hook-ups and cameras.

- Eight in 10 kids report using a computer in the past month, up 5 points in a year. More than half go online, with a third of teens going online every day.

- Parents continue to serve as the primary influence on their children regarding subjects ranging from future plans to what they watch on TV. When it comes to Internet sites, however, young people mainly take their cue from friends.

- Young people freely admit they are influenced by advertising. They are also far more likely than in 1996 to say TV commercials provide useful information and are fun to watch. Tweens report more purchases prompted by ads for food and snacks.