London: Many time-constrained parents in Britain think buying their children expensive gifts is all it takes to keep them happy. However, all that youngsters wish is a secure family life, a report has revealed. Parents complained that they were simply too tired to play with or even talk to their children when they came home from work.

A research by Unicef has warned parents desperately trying to make up for not spending quality time with their offspring through materialism.

According to the report, family life in Britain is dominated by a spending culture as parents feel 'tremendous pressure' to 'pointlessly' splash out on goods for their children. But all that children want is just to spend time with their families as it's having a stable family which makes them feel happier.

British parents lose out on spending time with their children due to working long hours, and often try to make amends by buying them gadgets and branded clothes, it found.

Unicef has also suggested the obsession with consumerism was one of the underlying issues behind the recent English riots - which saw children as young as 11 looting stores.

It has also called on the government to ban television advertising aimed at under-12s and encourage parents to work fewer hours and spend more time at home.

The report, funded by the Department for Education, was commissioned after an earlier 2007 Unicef report ranked Britain as the worst country in the industrial world for children.

The study of 250 children from Spain, Sweden and the UK, found that youngsters' happiness was dependent on spending time with a stable family and having plenty of things to do, especially outdoors, rather than on owning cutting-edge technology or branded clothes.

In contrast, in Spain and Sweden, family time is prioritised and people feel less pressure to own material goods, the study found.

(Agencies)