Newsweek recently published the article "Sex and the Single Tween" by Abigail Jones and it's a fascinating read about tweens, and girls and sexualization in particular. It's a lengthy piece, though, and I was struck how just breaking down some of the numbers included in it offers interesting insight into the world of tweens.
* 20 million tweens live in the U.S., according to an estimate by the U.S. Census using the 2010 numbers;
*$17 billion - what marketers spend to reach tweens, according to CBS;
* $43 billion - the annual spending power of tweens' disposable income, separate from what their parents spend, as stated in the Global Association for Marketing at Retail's white paper from March 2013;
* 8-12 hours of media exposure a day is typical for tweens, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study from 2010;
* 78% of teens have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones, according to a 2013 Pew study;
* 55% of parents say their child has a Facebook account even though they are not old enough to have one under Facebook's rules, and 76% helped created their child's account;
* 7 years old - the age at which breast development started for 23 percent of black girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls and 10 percent of white girls in a study published in Pediatrics in 2010.
These number illustrate that the tween years are tough these days. The issues may not be new, but it seems that now there's just more of everything, and it's coming at kids sooner than ever before. It's hard, for kids and parents.
Sometimes all we can do is hug our kids, let them know that they are loved unconditionally, and reminder them that you have raised them to make good choices and you trust them to do so. They may roll their eyes, but maybe, just maybe, that will echo in their heads and they'll hear it in their heads when faced with tough decisions.
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