Kids should be allowed to enjoy their childhood and be protected from increasing sexualisation, the Tory leader has said.
Watch David Cameron speaking on GMTV
Mr Cameron laid out Tory plans to penalise companies who market their products inappropriately to children.
And while he said that children cannot be cut off from the commercialised world completely, the Tory leader said parents should be helped to give children their childhood.
Children need to acquire the “moral capacity” to resist such perils as sexualisation, one social commentator said.
Speaking on GMTV on Thursday, David Cameron said: “We all know as parents, I have got two young children and there will be many watching this programme, that you do your best as parents but there is a lot of pester power going on.
“What we are saying is that you can’t cut children off from the commercial world, of course you can’t, but we should be able to help parents more in terms of trying to make sure that our children get a childhood and that they are not subject to unnecessary and inappropriate commercialisation and sexualisation too young.
“This is what this should be about.”
Mr Cameron explained the Conservatives’ plans that companies which are found guilty of inappropriate marketing to children “shouldn’t be able to bid for Government contracts for three years”.
He also explained that under a Tory Government parents would be given online methods to campaign against products which they deemed inappropriate for children.
He said: “I think that will help parents feel ‘I am not alone in this, I am not being left on my own to bring up my children properly, other people are helping me’.”
Mr Cameron pointed to products which have been pulled from shelves as a result of “parental pressure” and said that these new measures would help that to continue.
Writing in the Daily Mail today Mr Cameron said: “More and more today, sexual-provocative images are invading public space – space shared by children.
“In the Tube station, at the bus stop, on the billboard – there’s the creeping sense that we’re sleepwalking to a place where ‘porn is the norm’.”
He added: “After all, it’s our shared responsibility to protect children from aggressive commercialism and premature sexualisation.
“This is not about being prudish or old-fashioned. It’s about remembering the simple pleasures of our own childhood – and making sure our children can enjoy them too.”
A political row between Labour and the Conservatives followed Mr Cameron’s comments yesterday over which party had talked about clamping down on child sexualisation first.
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls stated he had raised the issue two years ago, but Mr Cameron said he had spoken about it early on in his premiership of Tory party, which began in 2005.
Daily Telegraph commentator Ed West said that society as a whole needs to recognise that some sexual behaviour is morally wrong.
He said: “Parents of very young girls look at the way gangs of teenage girls are dressed and feel a sense of overwhelming dread inside their belly.”
But David Cameron should not stop at blaming the manufacturers of products which sexualise children, since “they only create and market what children demand, and children only imitate adults”, he added.
Janet Daley, writing on the Telegraph website, said that children should be taught to resist temptation.
The columnist said: “Sadly, life is full of destructive possibilities, and the social pressure to submit to them can be very great.
“What children need most is not to have all wicked influences eliminated from view, but the understanding and the moral capacity to stand firm against them.”
Last year a consumer watchdog hit out at children’s clothes and toys which ‘normalise’ sex and pornography.
In August a Daily Telegraph columnist said T-shirts with slogans such as “So Many Boys, So Little Time” should be banned.