MANILA, March 22, 2004 (STAR) Who really has the power of the purse?

Filipino children in three cities across the country have the spending power of P20.9 billion every year — from their pocket money alone — and are technologically savvy, according to a recent survey.

They also have their parents wrapped around their stubby little fingers, ranging from their choice of food to clothes and shoes.

The survey, which involved 1,000 children aged 7 to 14 as well as their parents, was commissioned by the Cartoon Network. Titled "New Generations Philippines 2004," the survey was conducted in November 2003 in Metro Manila and Cebu and Davao cities.

"Kids below age 15 represent a third of the Filipino population, yet they are an under-researched and underestimated as a demographic group. As our survey reveals, even kids as young as seven have well-established views on everything — from their favorite brand of toothpaste to the best mobile phone network," said Duncan Morris, vice president of research for Turner International Asia Pacific Limited.

"As the leaders in kids’ entertainment, it is important that we continue to invest in unique research such as New Generations Philippines that shows the trends and habits of our viewers," he added.

Survey results indicate that 96 percent of parents give their children an average of P109 in pocket money every week. Children in Metro Manila receive an average of P140 per week, with seven to eight year olds receiving P99 and teenagers given as much as P218 for pocket money.

Children in homes with cable television enjoy 89 percent more pocket money than those whose homes do not have cable television.

"Combining the differing weekly allowances, the total pocket money earned by kids (aged) seven to 14 across the three surveyed areas combines to generate a total of P20.9 billion a year," Cartoon Network said in a statement.

The survey results also showed that parents are no longer the sole decision-makers in the household — children now either decide on their own or influence their parents’ choice.

For confectionery, soft drinks and snacks purchased for the household, children play a role in their parents’ choice of brands in 50 to 75 percent of cases. For higher-priced items such as sports shoes and clothes, a third of the children in the survey claim they are the sole decision-makers.

Children in these three cities are also more savvy with various forms of technology.

The survey found that children are becoming increasingly familiar with mobile phones. Sixty-six percent of respondents claim to have used a mobile phone and 77 percent of them send text messages at least once a week. Most (73 percent) of the respondents favor Nokia over other mobile phone brands.

Those who have used a computer in the past three months comprise 43 percent of respondents. A third of children aged seven to 10 years and 63 percent of teenagers are computer users.

Nearly half (47 percent) of those who have recently used a computer also go on the Internet, with 66 percent going online to play games. Forty-eight percent of the respondents who use the Internet do so to get help with their schoolwork. Priorities

The survey found that among the boys, 24 percent said they wanted to be an engineer or a doctor when they grow up. Girls, on the other hand, dreamed of being nurses (29 percent) or teachers (24 percent).

The survey also showed 12 items that the respondents had to rank in order of priority. Ninety percent of respondents chose "being healthy" as their priority, while only six percent of them chose "having a boyfriend or girlfriend" as their priority.

Another item ranked as "very important" by 81 percent of respondents is "being praised by parents," while 76 percent feel the same way about "being praised by teachers."

Like their parents, Filipino children prefer basketball over other sports. Sixty-six percent of boys like to play the game, while 69 percent like to watch it. Girls favor playing badminton (34 percent), but prefer to watch basketball (28 percent) over volleyball (15 percent).

Nearly half or 44 percent of girls, however, still prefer dolls while 21 percent of boys favor video or computer games. Another 18 percent of boys prefer to play Tex, which involves thumb-sized playing cards.

Asked what toys or games they would like to have, both boys and girls chose bicycles and video or computer games.

Most of the children surveyed liked watching television when they are not in school, with 94 percent glued to the set on a daily basis. Another 16 percent of respondents like listening to the radio.

Asked what they liked to watch, 93 percent of children said they liked cartoons, with 58 percent of them saying it is their favorite type of television program. Another 13 percent said they liked watching drama series, while seven percent liked watching movies.

For children whose homes had cable television, 42 percent named Cartoon Network as their favorite channel.

The survey added that Cartoon Network was the third most popular channel and the "Powerpuff Girls" was the overall favorite television program on any channel among all respondents.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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