American children aware of economic recession: poll

Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:35pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Adults are not the only people worried about the impact of the recession, children are also aware of the economic downturn, according to a new study.

Nearly three quarters of parents with youngsters between the ages of six and 16 said their children know about the economic downturn and some kids, particularly from affluent families, have even opted out of buying something to keep down costs.

"While the past few months have taught families to change some of their spending habits, it's clear that these lessons aren't beginning and ending with the adults in the family," said Pamela Codispoti, of American Express, which conducted the poll.

The survey of 506 U.S. households showed that parents are using the opportunity to teach children about how to manage money and the importance of saving.

More than 91 percent of parents said they will focus on money management with their children this year. Thirty percent planned to help their kids understand debt and its impact on spending and savings, and a quarter said they would teach their children the value of money through a reward system such as an allowance.

Sixty two percent said they already give their children an allowance, which generally consists of about $12 a week or $48 a month.

The survey showed that nearly a quarter of parents put no restrictions on how their children use an allowance, but 13 percent designated the money for fun things such as movies and games, while 10 percent insisted the allowance be spent on essential items like lunch.

But nearly half of all parents expect their children to spend their allowance instead of saving it.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>A child lies on the trading floor during kid's day at the New York Stock Exchange, November 27, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>