Unicef’s UK director calls for a ban on advertising aimed at young children
A report by the UN children’s agency, Unicef, claims that parents spend money on expensive gifts for their children rather than spending time with them.
The Unicef study explored children’s attitudes and ideas of happiness and success from Britain, Sweden and Spain. It highlighted that the consumer culture was less embedded in Sweden and Spain, both of which rank higher than Britain for the wellbeing of children.
Children reportedly said that what makes them happy is spending time with their family. However, parents still felt under pressure to shower their children with toys and designer labels to compensate for working long hours.
Unicef credited the UK's “compulsive consumerism” and materialistic culture as a contributing factor to the unrest that resulted in the wide spread looting and riots that the country saw last month.
“While children would prefer time with their parents to heaps of consumer goods, [their] parents seem to find themselves under tremendous pressure to purchase a surfeit of material goods for their children,” Dr Agnes Nairn, an academic and marketing expert, explained.
Unicef’s UK director David Bull called for the ban of advertising aimed at children under the age of 12 and for a push towards enabling parents to spend more time at home. “The government needs to make sure parents earn enough to spend fewer hours in work and more time with their children,” he said.
This report comes, however, at a time when many aspects of parenting in Britain are being questioned.
Reports have found that working mums have to send their sick children to school as they feel unable to take a day off work due to pay and fears of job security.
In addition, rising childcare costs are said to be putting such a strain on parents that, for some, the only solution is to stop work to look after their children.
There clearly needs to be changes in many aspects of everyday life so that Britain’s parents are supported and are able to care for children in the best way possible.
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I don't think it would work for the exact reason you say, peer pressure. It's one thing not seeing things on tv but they still go to school & see what other kids have. I don't like some things that are out now like toys that aren't that fun but they are more about collecting a whole set more then enjoying playing with them. Where is the fun in that? It encourages kids to think about quantity rather than quality. Also, what happens with what I can only describe as crap when they have got the full set? It goes in the bin.
It's hard to get a perfect balance of spending time with kids and spending money on them. Some people can get it right but it's different for everyone. What works for my family wouldn't work for others. There are kids channels with no adverts on and if I'm honest at first I used to let mine watch those but after a while they moved on to the channels with ads and... it has made no difference. I am very much into encouraging our two to be themselves and follow the crowd if that's what you feel like doing but not just to be a sheep so I think it is more down to how you deal with your kids and explain things. Also, they learn by example. If you have to have the latest everything and act like a kid because the latest this, that and the other is out chances are the kids will follow suit. Blaming adverts is a bit of an insult that we all just focus on the ads and do what they say. We're not all like that.
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