SCMP Friday, September 1, 2000

Material young minds

CYNTHIA WAN

More than a third of youngsters aged between nine and 15 believe money can buy happiness, and a quarter think anything is worth doing as long as it makes money, a survey has found.
The study, to gauge pupils' attitudes to money, polled 1,296 students from Primary Four to Six and Secondary One to Four.
''Money to me is God,'' one primary school pupil said. Another secondary school student said it brought status, respect, friends and many girlfriends.
The survey found 35 per cent believed money brought happiness. Another 16 per cent viewed cash as more important than anything else with 25 per cent agreeing anything was worth doing as long as it was highly profitable.
Twenty-two per cent thought that a lack of money meant a lack of happiness and well-being.
Only 5.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent of primary and secondary school pupils said they would give any extra money they received to charity. The survey, commissioned by RTHK, was carried out by City University's Division of Social Studies.
Lam Seung-wan, chairman of the Union of Heads of Aided Primary Schools, said: ''Children nowadays are quite realistic about money. I will use the findings inthe survey to discuss with my pupils the right attitude towards money.''