Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tween Boys

Liz Atwood at Charm City Moms writes about tween boys today. Specifically, she asks if tween boys are ignored.

Apparently, a Google search for "tween girls" gives you over 2 million hits. Search "tween boys" and get less than a million-and-a-half. Seems marketers, etc. have spent a lot of time investigating the needs, wants and desires of tween girls, but not so much studying teen boys.

I, for one, have no problem with that. I do, however, have a problem with the concept of "tween."

Tweens are loosely defined as kids ages 8-14 who are "in between" the traditional child and teenage stages of development. (For more on tween, click here.)

What bothers me about this "definition" is that it's entirely made-up. Certainly, a boy who is 12 is going to have different interests and needs than his 4-yr-old or 17-yr-old brothers. But can't we just consider that a spectrum of growth, instead of a "stage" which miraculously appeared in the last 15 years?

Tweens are a marketing concept, plain and simple. A few years ago, saavy retailers realized that kids have money to spend. They studied this age group and, for the first time ever, specifically marketed products and services to 8-14 yr. olds.

Now, instead of children finding themselves as they leave childhood and grow to adulthood, a host of marketers call them "tweens" and tell them what clothes to wear, what music to like, what shows to watch and even what foods to eat.

Disney has long had a corner on the tween market. (Think Hannah Montana and High School Musical.) But now, they're turning their attention to the supposedly-neglected and under-served tween boys. Disney XD (which, I'll admit, my boys have already been watching) is aimed at tween boys.

And if XD can do for tween boys what Disney's done for tween girls, heaven help us all.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yeah! I have a 12 dd and thankfully she isn't into those things. If she were ps she would be, but since those things aren't discussed much, she has no interest. Sorry for the girl talk, just had to comment. :)