Child-Targeted Ads Concern '90% Of Parents'

Child-Targeted Ads Concern '90% Of Parents'

The vast majority of parents remain concerned about the sexualisation of childhood, a year after the Government pledged to tackle the issue.

A report has found that 90% of parents are concerned by inappropriate adverts, billboards and music videos.

The survey also discovered that the 85% of parents have never heard of the website ParentPort , which the Government created to offer them advice and help make a complaint.

Chris Moriarty from CIM research which carried out the survey told Sky News: "We've definitely seen improvements, the examples we saw last year were shocking, the pole dancing kits and such like, we're not seeing those anymore, but the innocent mistakes people are making, they haven't completely thought a product through.

"An example is a 'Future WAG' t-shirt which is one of those innocent mistakes where you think, what is the really harm? But if you looked at the bigger picture, it's those sorts of products that might need a re-think."

In February last year, Prime Minister David Cameron joined in the debate, promising to take action against those companies which are "bombarding" our children with sexual images.

Reg Bailey the chief executive of the Mothers' Union also published the report Letting Children Be Children, in which he called for measures to be taken to stop the "increasingly sexualised wallpaper surrounding children".

But mothers and their teenage daughters shopping in Birmingham have told Sky News they feel there is still a long way to go.

Elizabeth Hill, 15, said: "They don't need to take it as far as they do take it, like in a lot of Rihanna's music videos or with a lot of the rappers. I think a lot of the young kids try and copy them."

Her mother, Dawn Hill, added: "I've got a 15-year-old and I've got grandchildren, I'm not naive and I know that they will see this stuff, but not in my house."

As well as overt images there are concerns that children are being targeted by adverts in far more subtle ways.

The concern is that as children interact on many social networking websites they may then see inappropriate adverts.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is also warning of the danger of inadvertent marketing decisions, which then lead companies to provide products like padded bras for children.

The Advertising Standards Authority said: "The work that regulators, including the ASA, continue to undertake in responding positively to the recommendations in the Bailey review (Letting Children Be Children) has been welcomed by government as well as family and parenting groups.

"ParentPort is a valued resource amongst parents but raising awareness is an ongoing process.

"We'd be delighted if CIM and its members would like to support ParentPort with their expertise and resources."

There is only so much any authority or Government can do given the international nature of many adverts, music videos and TV channels.

When he addressed the issue last year , Mr Cameron accepted that children can't be shielded from the modern world but said he wanted to protect them from "growing up too fast", sentiments it seems which are echoed by the parents questioned in this latest survey.

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