Lacy bras and see-through tops for little girls, sexy billboard ads near schools and using children to promote products and brands are set to become a thing of the past. Today, Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce moves to try and halt the commercialisation and sexualisation of children.
The initiatives stem from a report that will be published today, Letting Children be Children, also called the Bailey Review.
The Bailey Review was commissioned by the Government and undertaken by the head of the Christian charity Mother’s Union, Mr Reg Bailey, to investigate worries that children were being made to grow up too fast. It looked at clothes, TV, the internet and advertising.
Three of the report’s recommendations are particularly welcomed by David Cameron (he wrote to Reg Bailey to say so, reports the Telegraph). These are:
- Billboards with sexual imagery should only be put up where kids aren’t likely to see them – so, no more hard-to-explain ads near our schools.
- It’s made easier for parents to “block adult and age-restricted material” across all types of media sources, so children are protected when they use their mobiles, the internet or watch TV.
- The “employment of children as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing” is to be banned – basically, companies are to stop paying children to promote their products in school or on social networking sites.
David Cameron also wants the report’s idea of having one user-friendly website where you can find out what to do if you feel a product, ad or programme is inappropriate for your kids to be implemented.
According to the British Retailer Consortium (BRC), its members have signed an agreement to guarantee fashion retail chains won’t sell sexualised clothing to preteens. This means shopping for your child’s first bra won’t involve anything lacy, underwired or black being on the racks. Shoes shouldn’t have heels (unless they’re party shoes) and tops shouldn’t have see-through or sheer fabrics. The retailers will also try not to locate the lingerie department near the children’s clothing department, and when shopping online, they’ll attempt to have just child-appropriate results come up when children’s underwear is searched for.
Marks & Spencer, Next, Asda, Tesco and Peacocks have all signed up to the charter, but according to the Telegraph, Bhs, Matalan and Primark, who aren’t BRC members, haven’t.