Research out today shows that 80% of UK parents believe media and marketing with sexualized content is too easily accessed by children, and makes them sexually aware too young.
Research carried out amongst 1,000 parents by ComRes, for Mothers' Union, showed that 71% of parents believe that the media encourages children to act older than they really want to and that 67% of parents believe that inappropriate content is shown on TV before the 9pm watershed.
Mothers' Union’s report, Bye Buy Childhood: A report into the commercialisation of childhood published today, reveals new research into parents' experiences of the pressures that commercialisation brings to bear on family life, and draws on existing research to demonstrate the negative effects that a consumer-culture has on children’s wellbeing.
Speaking at the campaign launch Rosemary Kempsell, Worldwide President of Mothers' Union said, "Mothers' Union is concerned at the increasing levels of marketing aimed at children. Brands deliberately encourage a culture of "pester power" or use manipulative techniques such as recruiting young people as conduits for peer-to-peer marketing.
"This is having a far-reaching effect on children's values, and their family life. Marketers play on the need that children have to fit in with their friends, to belong. We believe exploiting children for profit is wrong."
Through Bye Buy Childhood Mothers' Union is calling for change, asking marketing, media and retailers to make a difference to childhood by:
Bye Buy Childhood will tackle the commercialisation of children at every level – from raising awareness to providing support and advice to parents.
"We want to encourage a cultural shift, with new codes of practice put in place so that childhood is both a respected as well as a creative time rather than predominantly a marketing opportunity," said Fleur Dorrell, Head of Faith & Policy at Mothers' Union. "Values of good parenting, of belonging and of choosing what brings happiness should not be sold to us as a product or a purchase."
Full details of the research report, together with campaign resources, can be found at www.byebuychildhood.org
Media Enquiries: Fiona Thomas,tel: 020 7222 5533, direct line 020 7227 9734, mobile 07973 667027. Email: fiona.Thomas@themothersunion.org
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