Friday focus - Youngsters with £28bn timebomb upstairs

PUBLISHED: 11:22 03 February 2006 | UPDATED: 21:40 28 May 2010

A truly frightening set of statistics dropped on my desk this week. These figures - trumpeted in the name of progress and affluence - demonstrate why, or at least partly why, so many of today's young people are so selfish, self-centred and way short on so

A truly frightening set of statistics dropped on my desk this week.These figures - trumpeted in the name of progress and affluence - demonstrate why, or at least partly why, so many of today's young people are so selfish, self-centred and way short on social skills, and why the family unit is not the force it was.Apparently British youngsters have hi-tech equipment worth about £28billion in their bedrooms.A third of them own entertaiment gadgets worth up to £2,000, while one in 10 has a staggering £5,000 hi-tech haul behind closed doors.This sad picture of modern youth, issued this week by Lloyds TSB Insurance, shows that in the East of England 40 per cent of our youngsters have a hi-fi system in their bedrooms; 32 per cent have a video player; 28 per cent have an iPod or mp3 player; 26 per cent have a computer; 15 per cent have broadband connection; and 12 per cent have digital or Sky TV.It goes without saying that this national bedroom stash is created by over-indulgent parents. In fact almost nine out of 10 children (87 per cent) in the East received their hi-tech gadgets as gifts. Only eight per cent bought them with money they earned from jobs, with a mere five per cent using their pocket money to buy the stuff.Now why has Lloyds TSB issued these figures? Not to warn us all of this most unsavoury trend, but to draw our attention to the need for extra premiums to cover bedroom contents.A company spokesman said our youngsters are "quite literally sleeping on a gold mine".I beg to differ. They are sleeping on a timebomb.We've all heard a lot about being British in the last few days, with national newspapers trying to establish what it is that signifies our Britishness.I was particularly taken with one response, from a chap in Switzerland: "Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV. And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign."Food for thought. I wonder how many of us Fenlanders recognise ourselves.

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