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'90 per cent' lament child-targeted adverts
MOST parents remain concerned about the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood a year after an independent review of the pressures on children growing up, a study finds.
Nine in 10 parents (90 per cent) still think there are problems with the way some companies advertise to children and 85 per cent are unaware of the dedicated complaints and advice website ParentPort, according to a poll for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
The survey comes a year after the report by Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey, entitled Letting Children Be Children, which called on businesses and broadcasters to play their part in protecting young people from the "increasingly sexualised wallpaper surrounding them".
Parents remain most concerned about sexually explicit outdoor advertising, marketing during children's TV programmes and inappropriate products for children, such as padded bras, the poll says.
Targeting children on Facebook and in stores are other significant concerns.
The CIM is calling on the Government to work directly with the marketing industry to "deal with these pressing issues once and for all".
David Thorp, director of CIM research, said: "It's clear that parents still have very real concerns about the way some companies try to sell to children.
"The marketing profession needs to address these concerns but we also want a dialogue between parents, the Government and industry bodies to ensure that our solutions are lasting and effective.
"The advertising that parents see and worry about is only the visible tip of the iceberg.
"Marketing runs much deeper and touches on every part of product development, buying and placement.
"Our research shows parents trust and respect the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as a regulatory body but the ASA is only able to tackle part of the problem.
"By looking at the often-invisible marketing decisions which lead to the creation of products like padded bras for children, we can treat the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.
"We need to ensure that every decision that companies take about marketing to children is responsible and appropriate.
"Parents should never have to react to inappropriate marketing.
"The Chartered Institute of Marketing wants to sit down with the Government to provide clarity and leadership for the marketing profession."
The ASA 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."
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