Photo: Jim Loring/Tearfund
Tearfund has recently carried out some research into the positive and negative impacts of globalisation on developing countries. Questionnaires were sent out to Tearfund partner organisations all over the world. One of the issues raised in the questionnaire was the impact that globalisation is having on family life.
Television lessens the amount of time that families spend together. It also exposes children to new value systems, makes them grow up faster and gives them a thirst for consumer goods.
Other technology is having a more positive impact. The internet and telecommunications are helping to connect families living in different places and allows fast communication.
However, both television and technology are leading to materialism. They create a growing desire for luxuries:
We are exposed to products that certainly make life easier, but sometimes we are not able to afford them. There is tension in the family when there is a mismatch between what members want and what we can afford. (Asia)
There is pressure for more work and less time to see each other and be together as a family… We are placing our children into other people’s care because both parents have to work. (Latin America)
Child discipline, which should belong to everybody in society, now belongs only to parents. (English-speaking Africa)
Parents spend better time with their children. They listen to them and very often decide things with them. (French-speaking Africa)
Compiled by Fiona Wilson, Research Assistant to the General Director, Tearfund.