While people are cutting back on their expenses in these tough economic times, family spending on children remains strong, market watchers say. A Neilson telephone survey of 302 parents found that 70 per cent paid for academic extras such as tutorial classes while 80 per cent continued to splurge on toys and entertainment. With an average of HK$3,000 a month per child, including HK$240 in pocket money, more than half of the families surveyed were still paying for sports and music lessons and spending an average of HK$340 on new clothes a month. More than 80 per cent of respondents said they had no plans to scale back spending on their children, a boon to youth-oriented businesses, according to Umang Pabaru, managing director of Neilson's consumer research in Greater China. 'Most children in Hong Kong are regarded as the 'king' of the family, [and] with local birth rates remaining low; parents would rather cut back on their own needs than compromise on what they give their kids.' Mr Pabaru said parents were skipping free or budget activities, with less than 10 per cent taking their children to museums and less than half never or rarely visiting libraries. Shopping and eating out were the most popular parent-child activities, with 39 and 60 per cent managing to do it once a week.