The growing loneliness of childhood

While reading a fascinating analysis of the impact of the nuclear attack on Japanese Anime films, reminded me of a project we did a decade ago. This article mentioned the recurring theme of orphaned kids (sometimes puppies and bear cubs) in Anime coming from the personal experience of many Japanese losing their parents to the bombings.

In our project, we discovered that many superheroes’ (mostly created in the US) portrayal as orphans were symbolic of the kids’ loneliness due to rising parent individualism and decreasing emotional availability for the child.

Our study indicated a similar trend brewing in urban India.

Nuclearization of families, working couples, rising individualism & separations/divorces resulting in diminishing intimacy impacting the child.

Add to this the Indian parents’ tendency to pursue their dreams through the child’s performance. Resulting in the child experiencing ‘conditional’ love as a reward for performance. It’s no replacement for the nurturance they need at this stage.

How does this childhood experience shape a cohort growing up? In understanding your target audience, do you factor in this question? What implications does it have for your strategy?

What examples come to mind?


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