I have come across this claim (which, btw, I have no reason to disbelieve) numerous times today.

  • ...according to one poll, commissioned by Time and CNN, two-thirds of American parents think that their children are spoiled.... - The New Yorker, July 2, 2012 Issue

  • Eighty percent of people polled think that kids today are more spoiled than kids ten or fifteen years ago. Two-thirds of parents think their own children are spoiled. - Results of a 2001 Time/CNN poll, The to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids

  • But no matter how it happened, two-thirds of parents would call their own kids spoiled, to say nothing of everyone else's, according to a Time/CNN survey. - Valerie Frankel, Parenting (magazine), no date given.

I would like to read the report and evaluate how they arrived at the conclusion (if it's valid.) The problem is I can't find the report/poll, no matter what terms I use in my search.

Was such a poll ever conducted, and if so, is the report available for scrutiny?

I'm not the world's best Googler, but I am persistent. Yet I can't find it. I'm sorry if this is perceived as a "LMGTFY" type of question.


1 Answer 1


What if that was just a telephone survey? Routine bunch of questions, this one data point picked out.

That wasn't a scientific survey but a journalistic polling. I'll bet the farm that this thing is not published at all with a section on methodology. The articles on this constantly cited as the source are Nancy Gibbs: "Do Kids Have Too Much Power? Parents agree that children today are spoiled. But a rising number are fighting the tendency to indulge and coddle them", Time, Aug 6, 2001. and same author, date and venue: "Who's In Charge Here?". The CNN version for this is CNNMoney, Are your kids spoiled?, Jul 30 2001. (transcript of the show)

Even PubMed has it in this form:

Time. 2001 Aug 6;158(5):40-9.
Power struggle. Who's in charge here?.
Gibbs N.
PMID: 11499221
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

But they just state the result. Was it an open interview, a leading question, an evaluation request on a scale? Without knowing the actual question asked, this is scientifically worthless.

That poll was conducted, in 2001, and one data point from it was published by Time magazine in 2001. It is not readily available for scrutiny.

  • 2
    Well, I am... naïve, I guess. This just bowls me over. For people to repeat such a claim without examining the source is (to me) irresponsible at best. Thanks heaps for this answer. (Could this be considered 'fake news'?) Now I'm paranoid. Jul 22, 2018 at 14:36
  • 2
    @medica Questioning the methodology and requesting raw data is the opposite of naive. – But it really bugs me that all students learn how to do surveys, how to interpret them, and then leave uni to conduct chiefly these propaganda pieces. Having been on both sides of the fence several times (interviewer and interviewee) I see mainly really bad surveys, all around the world. – And yes. A poll or survey that is compatible with "news" usually lacks its chapter on methods and raw data. I consider all of these ranging from useless to dangerous. We need the Qs, the methods. They deliver guru wisdom. Jul 22, 2018 at 16:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .