Parents still worried by sexualisation of children

Parents are still worried about the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, one year after the Prime Minister promised a crackdown.

Last year David Cameron gave his backing to a report prepared by Reg Bailey of the Mother’s Union, which called on businesses and regulators to ‘let children be children’.

But a new poll for the Chartered Institute of Marketing shows that the Prime Minister has failed to halt parents’ concerns.


Almost 90 per cent are still worried about their children being exposed to inappropriate marketing.

Parents still cite sexually explicit outdoor advertising and inappropriate products, like padded bras for kids, among their main concerns.

The Sun newspaper has revealed that a worrying number of high street stores are still selling ‘sexy’ clothes for children.


Items included high heels for seven-year-olds and a t-shirt reading “Ooh la la” for girls of four.

Budget store Matalan was found to be selling a padded first bra in size 28A, despite vowing to axe it last year.

Siobhan Freegard of parenting website Netmums said: “Retailers promise to be responsible — yet pile the shelves with outfits more suited to strippers than seven-year-olds. Parents must vote with their wallets.”


Meanwhile, separate research shows that the use of sexual images in magazine advertising doubled in the 20 years between 1983 and 2003.

A study of 3,232 full-page adverts in magazines published from 1983 to 2003 showed that the use of sexual imagery surged from 15 to 27 per cent.


In January Children and Families Minister Sarah Teather warned business leaders that families must be able to see solid moves forward from businesses on tackling child sexualisation.

In a letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, the minister said: “The Prime Minister and I will expect to see concrete progress and for this to feel real and meaningful to parents and children.”