Businesses must act to combat child sexualisation, says Govt

Families must be able to see solid moves forward from businesses on tackling child sexualisation, the Government has warned.

Children and Families Minister Sarah Teather has written to business leaders inviting them to meet the Prime Minister and also warned that “concrete progress” must be seen.

The letter sets out a list of reforms being considered, including a full ban on sexualised images appearing in outdoor advertising.

Schools

In the letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, the minister warns that companies must “demonstrate the real difference they are making for families”.

She said: “The Prime Minister and I will expect to see concrete progress and for this to feel real and meaningful to parents and children.”

On the issue of sexualised images on outdoor adverts, there is already a voluntary ban on such ads near schools.

But the minister said: “Children go to more places than just their school and see advertising everywhere they go. If an advertisement is not acceptable close to a school, is it acceptable anywhere?”

Modesty

‘Lads’ mags’ and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers may also be barred from going on display in easy view of children.

Sarah Teather suggested “modesty boards provided by publishers and wholesalers” could be used to protect them from view – and the minister added the Government wanted to see “a great deal of progress on this issue”.

A report on child sexualisation and commercialisation was released last year. The report, entitled Let Children be Children, was fronted by Reg Bailey, the Chief Executive of Mothers’ Union.

At the time the Prime Minister described Let Children be Children as a “giant step forward for protecting childhood and making Britain more family-friendly”.

Provocative

In November last year a series of sexually provocative adverts for Lynx deodorant and shower gel were banned by the advertising watchdog following more than 100 complaints.

The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that a poster for Lynx shower gel “was likely to cause serious or widespread offence”.

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