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Tween Beat Here's marketing to you, kids; why increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are selling their sights on preteen consumers.

By Debra Phillips

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Cargo pants are over. The Backstreet Boys are cool--and waycute. 7th Heaven is the must-see TV show on the new must-seenetwork, the WB. And, yes, computer literacy is as fundamental aslearning your ABC's.

Welcome to the wonderful world of preteen America. Oh sure, muchfuss is made over the awesome spending power of these kids'elder siblings--a.k.a., teens. Rest assured, however, that thelegions of 9- to 12-year-olds whimsically referred to as"tweens" boast a shopping force all their own.

And they're not afraid to use it. "Finally, someonewoke up and smelled the statistics," observes Karen Bokram,publisher and founding editor of Girls' Life magazine."Whichever group has the largest number of people drives theculture. The only other [comparable group to today'syoungsters] is their parents--the baby boomers--and who the hellwants to talk about them anymore?"

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