Study Says Today’s Kids Really Are Lazy and Greedy

May 2, 2013  |  
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It’s common for each generation of parents to look at their kinds and wonder, “We weren’t that bad at that age, were we?” A research team at San Diego State University set out to look into that question and found no, we weren’t actually that bad. And this discrepancy is most obvious when it comes to the current generation’s desire for expensive things—without the desire to work hard for them.

Said lead researcher and author of Generation Me Dr. Jean Twenge, “Compared to previous generations, recent high school graduates are more likely to want lots of money and nice things, but less likely to say they’re willing to work hard to earn them.” Sixty-two percent of today’s high school students say it’s important to make lots of money compared to 42 percent of high school graduates in the 1970s. More of today’s students say it’s important to own a home compared to their baby boomer counterparts. Most disturbingly, more current high school than previous generations of students say they don’t want to work hard. The study found materialism peaked in the 1980s and 1990s and has held steady since, despite the tough economy of recent years.

Researchers say this is largely a sign of the times. Materialism in teens seemed to be highest when advertising was a big part of the economy, largely because advertising doesn’t show how hard you might have to work to get those nice things. Even in bad economic times or bad times at home, kids may turn to material things to make them feel better.

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