What today’s kids are thinking

The news is filled with year 2000 hype-the Y2K bug, a new millennium, a new century and a new year. Media coverage would lead us to believe that this is foremost on everyone's mind. This month, LiveWire talked to kids ages...
December 1, 1999

The news is filled with year 2000 hype-the Y2K bug, a new millennium, a new century and a new year. Media coverage would lead us to believe that this is foremost on everyone’s mind. This month, LiveWire talked to kids ages eight to 12 to see what the approaching holidays really mean to them.

What we found:

In spite of contagious countdown fever, our kids are not particularly excited about the upcoming new year. The majority of kids think the whole issue is ‘no big deal,’ and refer to it as ‘just another year.’

The majority of our kids report that their New Year’s festivities won’t be dramatically different than celebrations of previous years. Movie rentals and family parties at home are what can be expected on December 31.

As the kids look forward, they are excited by typical kid events for the year 2000, such as being a year older, getting their braces off, the arrival of new siblings and vacations. While many of the kids talk about the Y2K bug and its potential for problems, it is not with a sense of panic and urgency, but with curiosity and some boredom. Michael, an eight-year-old from Indiana, summed it up for many of the kids by saying, ‘I just want (the New Year) to get here so everyone will stop worrying.’

While the once-in-a-lifetime advent of a new millennium doesn’t excite the kids, the arrival of Christmas and Chanukah does. The overwhelming favorite of all holidays, the kids are very much looking forward to receiving lots of gifts and sharing their holidays with family.

Christmas and Chanukah, much more so than any other holidays, are strongly rooted in family traditions that occur year after year.

About one-third of our sample spends their own money on gifts during the holidays. The majority of kids are actively involved in selecting gifts, but most of the requisite funding comes from mom and dad. Gift recipients primarily include parents, grandparents and siblings. About half the kids say they buy gifts for friends. Purchasing decisions are generally not made, or even thought about, too much in advance of the big day(s).

So much for countdowns!

What kids said:

A time for wishes

The kids on our panel were asked to make a special holiday wish for themselves or someone else. Their responses included a mix of cravings for the latest cool toys, along with more altruistic wishes for others.

‘To get the best Pokémon cards, or one of every kind.’

Eric, 11, New York

‘I want all kids to have fun like I do.’ Michelle, 9, Florida

‘I really, really want the Barbie Deluxe Dreamhouse.’

Chantelle, 9, New Hampshire

‘For my mom and dad, a vacation for just the two of them.’

Maxime, 9, Ontario, Canada

‘I would want my sister to meet her idol LeAnn Rimes because my sister sings just like her. It’s her dream to be a famous singer and record a song with LeAnn.’ James, 9, New Jersey

‘I want a real live horse!’ Caitlin, 10, Ohio

‘I would get my mom a machine to help her clean the house.’

Morgan, 8, Nevada

‘A Sony PlayStation with Spyro.’ Steve, 11, Florida

‘I wish my mom’s bills would all be paid so she wouldn’t have to worry for a long time.’ Irene, 11, New York

‘I would want all the poor or starving kids all over the world to receive anything they need to have a better life.’ Sara, 12, New York

‘A trip to Cancun with five of my friends.’ Josh, 12, Nevada

‘I wish that everyone could have a family like mine.’

Melody, 11, Virginia

Next month:

Fall’s kid-targeting live-action debuts hit the airwaves with much buzz. Now that a few months have passed, it’s time for Kid Think to find out what worked and why.

Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, investigates a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Kid Think talks with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online,

a proprietary panel of more than 1,100 on-line families across the United States. Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York-based

communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Paul Kurnit at 212-415-2992 or e-mail

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