MORE parents than ever before are concerned about the impact
that the media are having upon their children, fearing that their
childhood has been commercialised and sexualised, a survey for the
Mothers' Union (MU) Bye Buy Childhood campaign has found.
The survey of parents by ComRes found that 80 per cent believed
that video games with violent and sexual themes could be accessed
too easily by children, and that children were acting older than
their age, and being pressured into buying things, because of
advertising, and the media.
The latest figures show that parents are more concerned now
about the impact that advertising and media are having on their
children than they were in 2010, and are particularly concerned
about the influence of social media.
More than one third of parents felt that they had no control
over their children's use of social-networking sites, many of which
are accessed on the children's own mobile phones.
The head of faith and policy at the Mothers' Union, and author
of the latest report in the campaign, Lucinda Hasell, said: "The
subject of the commercialisation of children has received a lot of
welcome attention in the last few years, but our research shows
that parents are still concerned about this issue, and only half of
those we spoke to felt equipped to manage the influence of
advertising and the commercial world on their family. Further steps
need to be taken to ensure that children are not exposed to
inappropriate advertising and marketing, and that parents are
empowered to manage the impact of the commercial world."
The MU's Bye Buy Childhood campaign was launched in 2010, and
the charity's chief executive, Reg Bailey, was invited by the
Government to carry out an independent review of the issue. His
report's recommendations have been largely implemented by the
The MU's campaign against the commercialisation of childhood
will continue, thanks in part to the latest survey, which was
carried out in 2013. The results were initially a "surprise", the
MU said; it had expected that the changes adopted as a result of
the Bailey review had improved the situation. They believe that the
rise in concern mirrors a rise in awareness of the issue among
The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, who chairs the
Children's Society, said: "I am concerned to read this . . .
powerful report, and commend the Mothers' Union on their work. . .
I know how important it is to strive to enable children to be
children. The research demonstrates how pervasive commercialisation
is in our world. I hope we all take this seriously and consider how
we can increase our own resistance to 'pester power'."