Network Norwich and Norfolk > Regional News > Synod appeal to tackle childhood commercialisation

Synod appeal to tackle child commercialisation 

Mothers’ Union has asked members of the General Synod of The Church of England to engage with the concerns parents are voicing over the impact of commercialisation on children and on the well-being of the family.

The debate on July 13 was chaired by Rt. Rev David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon, and included an eloquent contribution from Allie McClean, a parent and Mothers’ Union member from Norwich Diocese. Mothers’ Union raised awareness of their Bye Buy Childhood campaign and called for help from the Lords Spiritual to raise recommendations in Parliament which have been drafted by Mothers’ Union as a result of their most recent research.

“Despite significant progress since our original research in 2010” said Rachel Aston, Social Policy Manager at Mothers’ Union, “we know that only 50% of parents feel equipped to manage the significant influence of advertising and the commercial world on their family. We want to ensure that parents are empowered to manage the impact of commercialisation, and that Government continues to ensure that regulation is working and that industry follows the spirit, as well as the letter of the law when marketing and selling to children.”

“We also are concerned that nearly seven out of ten parents now agree advertising can be harmful to children, up from six in ten five years ago; and that only three in ten parents believe advertising aimed at children is well regulated.”

The advertising industry was also represented at the event. Ian Barber, Director of Communications for the Advertising Association encouragingly said “When it comes to children’s well-being, everybody must be ready to play their part. The Mother’s Union has inspired a positive debate in our sector and UK advertising is committed to ensuring that marketing to children continues to be responsible and appropriate.  Industry initiatives like Media Smart, created to help teachers and parents talk to children about advertising, are a great example of how we can make a real difference.” 

Parent, Allie McClean, Mothers’ Union member from Norwich Diocese, also on the panel spoke eloquently on how, even in a supportive partnership bringing up children to be resilient to the pressures of commercialisation and sexualisation takes dedication and constant need for support. For single parents, she outlined, the pressures must be enormous. Peer pressure, pester power and the need for guidance to handle the external pressures, is ongoing and she welcomed the news that Mothers’ Union’s guide for parents “Labelled for Life” will be reissued to cover emerging media later this year.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Bishop of Colchester, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill and the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler were amongst those who came to hear the debate and give support. Bishop Paul Butler welcomed the report and called for its wider dissemination and support.

To find out more information on the issues and Mothers’ Union’s Call to Action for 2015 visit
Pictured above at the synod debate is Allie McClean (left), the Bishop of Huntingdon and Rachel Aston.

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