Parents should set an example for children by not comparing with others materially, expert says
The new semester will start in a few days, bringing with it the peak season for college students to buy new electronic devices and for parents to buy their children all sorts of items for school.
Social networking website renren.com recently polled more than 2,600 college students and found that 72.5 percent want to buy new electronic devices at the beginning of the term.
Among the 2,647 students polled, 27.8 percent said they would buy new cellphones, 23.5 percent are considering purchasing new computers and 15.6 percent expressed willingness to buy a new tablet computer. Many said they would pay by installment if they were short of cash.
Lyu Wenlong, director of the User Research Center of renren.com, said many college students buy these devices to keep up with fashion, not out of a real need.
“Especially if classmates and friends around them are all using fashionable new electronic devices, college students will easily feel the impulse to unrealistically compare and to shop irrationally,” he said.
The shopping list for younger students is no shorter, and the expenditures are high for some, especially those who are just starting school.
Lu Bei, mother of a 6-year-old boy who will become a first-grader in Shanghai’s Changning district, spent 499 ($80) for a school bag and 639 yuan for a pair of sneakers.
“It will be a ceremonial day on Sept 1 when my son begins his elementary school journey, so I want to buy him something good,” she said.
Lao Kaisheng, an education policy researcher from Beijing Normal University, said it is understandable that parents, regardless of their varied family backgrounds, aspire to give their children a better living and learning environment, but he discourages parents from spending extravagantly on children, which may breed a bad habit of using money lavishly.
“Children indeed need guidance in establishing a positive value system toward money and wealth. Parents should set examples for children in not comparing with others materially,” he said.
Su Zhou in Beijing contributed to this story.
Contact the writers through firstname.lastname@example.org
(China Daily 09/02/2015 page4)