Greedy kids want it all for nothing

MX
May 10, 2013
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PARENTS have been saying it for years, but now they’ve got proof — young people are greedier and lazier than ever.

Research comparing the attitudes of young people over the past 30 years shows a widening “fantasy gap” between the desire for wealth and the willingness to work for it.

The study, conducted by San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge and published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, compared the attitudes of 355,296 US high school students surveyed between 1976 and 2007.

In the most recent surveys, 62 per cent of students thought it was important to be wealthy, compared with 48 per cent in the 1976-1978 survey.

Asked if wealth was important to own their own home, 69 per cent of Gen Y students said it was, compared with 55 per cent in 1976-1978.

And while today’s young people want more, the research shows they are less willing to go out and get it, with 39 per cent of students surveyed in 2005-2007 saying they didn’t want to work hard while in 1976-78, only 25 per cent of students admitted to this kind of laziness.

Melbourne University political scientist Lauren Rosewarne said a culture based on immediate gratification had given young people unrealistic expectations.

Rosewarne said overnight-success stories were celebrated, while stories of people who achieved their dreams through hard work were ignored.