Is it wrong to want to be a millionaire? ITV show destroys children TV jackpots 'demotivate' child earners

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The Independent Online
A NEW ITV gameshow offering pounds 1m prizes has been attacked by parents and teachers, who say it will give children a poor understanding of the value of money.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? will offer the biggest payout in British television history and aims to pinch viewers from the BBC's National Lottery show.

But critics feel the vast sums being given away on television give children the impression that "money grows on trees".

"Where will it all end?" asks Margaret Morissey of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations. "How can you expect a child to go and start their first job for a small amount of money when they see you can go and win much more elsewhere. It's hard to motivate them when so much is being given away."

Big stake gameshows are not the only culprits for the current materialistic climate, according to the National Union of Teachers.

"There are some parents who are determined that their child will have whatever they want regardless of cost, and this is not helpful. Having to make choices within a budget is what money is all about and it's important to help children understand that."

But not everyone in the teaching profession is so negative. "I think youngsters understand very well that these millions of pounds are an unattainable sum," said Eammon O'Kane of the teaching union NASUWT. "They understand that money is not just something that can be plucked from on high. Obviously they'd like these expensive prizes - who wouldn't?"

Social commentator Peter York also wonders what all the fuss is about. "I don't watch gameshows myself but I don't think there is anything wrong with them. People's expectations have changed. Gone are the days when they go ooh and aah over a toaster.

"Everyone knows these days that in order to set yourself up for life you have to have a very chunky sum of money and if you can get this by being clever and answering a few general knowledge questions then why not?"

ITV said the size of the prize "may have raised the stakes but there is a lot of skill involved in winning it" which "defends the show against people who feel it's just about money".

If anything, contestants could be in for disappointment. "There is an opportunity with each series to become a millionaire. But it's not a case of turning up on Saturday night and becoming a millionaire by Sunday morning."