Report affects internet sites

The Mothers’ Union has published a government-commissioned report on the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood. Four key themes of concern to parents and the general public emerged: sexualised imagery forms the “wallpaper” of children’s lives; sexualised and gender-stereotyped children’s clothing, products and services; pressure on children to act as consumers; and the difficulty parents feel in making their voices heard. The report sets out various recommendations for broadcasters, advertisers, businesses and regulators including age restrictions on music videos; restricting outdoor adverts containing sexualised imagery; giving greater weight to parents’ views about pre-watershed television; and making it easier for parents to block adult material from the internet. The report also recommends a single website where parents may complain about any programme, advert, product or service. The Mothers’ Union says that recommendations should be implemented within a reasonable timescale, with a review in 18 months’ time and, if insufficient progress has been made, regulation should be considered.

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