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Childhood heroes change from Madonna to Greta, study suggests

Youngsters today are more likely to look up to YouTubers and activists, research indicates.

Madonna and Greta Thunberg (PA/AP)
Madonna and Greta Thunberg (PA/AP)

By Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

Children have starkly different heroes to their parents and are more likely to admire teenage environment campaigner Greta Thunberg or rapper Stormzy than Spiderman or Madonna, research suggests.

A survey of 1,000 parents of five to 16-year-olds found that those wanting to emulate a musician or an actor has fallen by 14% since the era of their mother and father.

Childhood heroes used to include footballer David Beckham, the Spice Girls, Wonder Woman and Batman, said family activity app Hoop.

Youngsters today are more likely to look up to YouTubers and activists – or Harry Potter, said the report.

Having a positive role model can inspire children to follow their dreams and become similarly successful in their own right Max Jennings, Hoop

Max Jennings, of Hoop, said: “The UK has transformed dramatically in a single generation and this has impacted who kids now view as ‘heroes’ and why.

“Not only is today’s list more diverse, it shows how issues and new technologies that under 16s come into contact with on a daily basis can impact their future.

“The role of YouTube and social media in children’s lives, as well as the powerful and influential voices that are driving climate change, are having a big impact.

“It also shows that having a positive role model can inspire children to follow their dreams and become similarly successful in their own right.”

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