FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Gadgets Define Kids' Social Status

There's nothing new about kids wanting to have stuff just because "everybody else" has it. Growing up in the modern world, after all, is all about trying to fit in and maintain one's social standing... and usually, doing that means having the right gear. These days, however, fitting in is a costly proposition, as gadgets like iPods, camera phones and portable DVD players become must-have fashion accessories for kids and teens.

Market researchers who study teen consuming habits have noted a significant shift in the way young people regard style. Whereas kids used to rely on clothes and hair to make a statement and define themselves, today's teens measure social status through high-tech devices. Many credit the stylish iPod for this change, but the now-ubiquitous cell phone has also surely played a role.

These marketers cite the "nag factor" in driving the purchase of these gadgets, placing much of the financial burden on parents and grandparents. Marketers also note that "gadget envy" cuts across all socioeconomic lines, affecting young people everywhere.

Sources: New York Times (via Taipei Times), Techdirt