Parents' concerns backed in Norwich Diocese
Research published today by Mothers’ Union, which says parents are concerned about the commercialisation of childhood, through advertising and marketing, has been backed in the Diocese of Norwich.
Parents remain concerned about the impact advertising and marketing are having, both directly and indirectly, on the lives of children and young people according to the Bye Buy Children report.
The research published on March 18 by Mothers’ Union reveals that despite welcome attention since 2010, 80% of parents in Britain are concerned about the commercialisation of childhood, and a similar proportion (81%) say that the media encourages their children to ask their parents to buy them things that they see advertised, indicating the potential impact of “Pester Power”.
The research, which was carried out by ComRes with over 1,000 parents in Great Britain in 2010 and 2013, also demonstrates that just 30% of parents think that advertising that can be seen by children is well regulated, a drop of 9% since 2010.
Marguerite Phillips, President of Mothers' Union in the Diocese of Norwich, welcomed the report. She said: “I wholeheartedly commend this report to our members and to the wider public. We look forward to receiving the engagement pack which will encourage prayerful support, give guidance to families on how to deal with concerns and empower our members to campaign on these issues.
“Since the campaign was launched in 2010 we have held workshops across Norfolk, drawn parents' attention to our publication Labelled for Life and how to access the excellent website Parentport which informs on how to contact the relevant advertising agencies about particular concerns.
“However, since then the growing problems of young people being targeted by social media have multiplied and we have recently circulated a leaflet giving advice to parents concerned about sexting.
“We have invited speakers form the Rose and Jigsaw projects based in Norwich and will work hard to make parents aware of how they can help themselves to gain more confidence in talking to their youngsters,” said Marguerite.
“As a grandparent of children aged 6 to 10, I am all too aware of the commercial pressures aimed at them from the latest fashions in clothing and music to the latest gimmicks in the toy world. I can see too how easily they interact with computers and hand-held devices and how carefully their ‘screen time’ needs to be monitored.”
Speaking as the research was published, Head of Faith & Policy and report author 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 (51%) 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.”
Mothers’ Union will be continuing the Bye Buy Childhood campaign, and is calling on the Government to consider why parents are still concerned about the commercialisation of childhood. Through the report they make six recommendations to Government that they believe will ensure children and family life are not adversely impacted by commercialisation.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “It is right that Mothers’ Union continues to be vigilant on these issues, and encourages all of us to continue to play our part in not only ensuring that everyone adheres to government regulations, but also strives for best practice to support parents and children.”