No time for the kids? Pamper them with toys, designer labels

Parents in the UK arere trapping their children in a cycle of "compulsive consumerism" by showering them with toys and designer labels rather than spending time with them, says a neew Unicef report.

The Unicef report warned that materialism had gripped family life in the UK as parents sought to "pointlessly" amass goods for their children to compensate their absence due to long working hours.

According to the children, though, spending time with their families made them happier.

The report links the obsession with consumer goods to the riots and widespread looting that gripped England last month saying it was the cause of unruly and loutish behaviour of the youth.

Unicef has called on the British government to ban advertising targeted at children under the age of 12 and to encourage parents to work fewer hours and spend more time at home.

The report also warned against closing playgrounds and other facilities.