Tweens, those young people in the formative ages of 9 to 11, now hold 'fame' as the one thing they value most.
This according to a new study released by U.C.L.A.
The study, published in the Journal of Psychology Research on Cyberspace, found shows popular with children aged 9 to 11 now hold â??fameâ?? as their No. 1 value.
Compare that to 1997...when researchers say fame ranked 15th in Tweens list of wants and desires.
This raises red flags for researchers, who say the shift in values over the last 10 years may have a negative effect on the future goals and accomplishments of American youth.
â??(Tweens) are unrealistic about what they have to do to become famous,â?? Patricia Greenfield, Ph.D from the Department of Psychology at UCLA and co-author of this study told CNN. â??They may give up on actually preparing for careers and realistic goals.â??
The study found that one of the main reasons for a decline in traditional values is the shift of values among characters on popular television shows during the past 50 years, from "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Lucy Show" to "American Idol" and "Hannah Montana."
"With Internet celebrities and reality TV stars everywhere, the pathway for nearly anyone to become famous, without a connection to hard work and skill, may seem easier than ever,â?? said Yalda Uhls, a UCLA doctoral student in developmental psychology and lead author of this study in a CNN interview.
â??When being famous and rich is much more important than being kind to others, what will happen to kids as they form their values and their identities?" he added.
The authors say the newest television shows, which often tend to promote celebrity lifestyles, target a younger, more impressionable set of viewers. With the increase in exposure made possible through the Internet with YouTube, Facebook and other sites, tweens feel they can be famous while accessing a virtual audience of friends and strangers.
Is this a dangerous slope for the future of our country? Is the pursuit of "fame" something we should encourage in children?