Mothers’ Union has welcomed action taken in the past year to halt the commercialisation of childhood, in response to the Bailey Review, ‘Letting Children be Children’. Industry and regulators have made a good start, with the ASA tightening up guidelines on sexualised advertising outdoors, internet service providers offering more visible parental controls and children’s clothing retailers signing up to a new code of practice. In particular, ParentPort.org is an extremely useful tool for parents and carers to tell regulators about any products, advertising or media they feel is inappropriately aimed at children.
Whilst this action is encouraging we need to go further. The commercial world is firmly embedded in childhood and there are still many attitudes and practices that need to change in order for parents’ concerns to be alleviated and their confidence to be sustained. The high level of concern about marketing targeted at children, as reported by parents to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, demonstrates a great awareness of the commercialisation of childhood and the need for further action.
We believe that industry and the Government must continue to listen to parents’ concerns, be more pro-active in tackling the more negative impacts of the commercial world and offer responsible measures, and where necessary, legislation, to reduce any harmful affects. Mothers’ Union would like to see further industry action on the Bailey Review, such as the covering of lads mags in shops, easier parental controls for all internet customers and better promotion of ParentPort.