A tween is a person who is between the ages of 10 to 12 years old. The term is often described in popular media as referring to a preadolescent (usually female) who is at the "in-between" stage in their development when they are considered "too old for toys, too young for boys". The word tween dates at least back to the late 1930s when J.R.R. Tolkien used it to describe that age of irresponsibility after teenage.
Tweens as a marketing demographic are defined as in-between being a child and a teen. They share some characteristics of teenagers as they are becoming them, such as, sometimes, changing bodies, growing interest in the opposite or same gender, etc., and they differ from younger children in that they are not, usually, primarily occupied with play. They are often going through a period of rapid social, physiological and emotional development. Along with the teen years, the tween years are a time of the most rapid and dramatic change in development since conception and early infancy.
The "tweens" were defined by J.R.R. Tolkien thusly: "At that time Frodo was still in his tweens, as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three."
Demographics and marketing
There are currently 20 million tweens in the U.S. and they are projected to hit 23 million by 2020 (U.S. Census). Tweens are a highly diverse segment of the U.S. population. Non-whites will comprise more than half of all children by 2023, with nearly 40% projected to be Hispanic.
- "Tween." Dictionary.com, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed. Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Web. 4 May 2010.
- Aucoin, Don (2 February 2005). "Too old for toys, too young for boys". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
- "It's Tween time". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
- "Tween Talk: Too Old For Toys, Too Young For Boys". Take The Handle. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
- The Fellowship of the Ring (Part One), by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954, pg. 22, first paragraph. "At that time Frodo was still in his tweens, as the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three."
- Clifford-Poston, Andrea. Tweens: What to Expect From – and How to Survive – Your Child's Pre-teen Years. Oxford: Oneworld, 2005. Print.
- Jayson, Sharon. "It's Cooler than Ever to Be a Tween, but Is Childhood Lost?" USA Today. 2 February 2009. Web.
- Faw, Larissa. "Tween Spending and Influence." EPM Communications, Inc. 2008.