British parents are trapping their children in a cycle of "compulsive consumerism" by showering them with toys and designer labels instead of spending quality time with them, a UN report has found.
The report by Unicef, the UN children's agency, warns that materialism has come to dominate family life in Britain as parents "pointlessly" amass goods for their children to compensate for their long working hours.
While parents said they felt compelled into buying more, the children themselves said spending time with their families made them happier.
Unicef UK said the obsession was one of the underlying causes of the riots and widespread looting which gripped the UK last month, as teenagers targeted shops for the designer clothes and goods.
The study, which was jointly funded by the Department for Education, was commissioned after an earlier Unicef report ranked Britain as the worst country in the industrialised world to be a child.
It prompted David Cameron to coin the expression “broken Britain” and fuelled calls for a raft of new family friendly policies.
In its latest study Unicef commissioned researchers from Ipsos Mori interviewed hundreds of children in Britain, Sweden and Spain, asking them about their ideas of happiness and success. more