Parents should be supported as they attempt to combat child sexualisation, according to a long awaited report which has been welcomed by David Cameron.
The Letting Children be Children report, which follows a six-month review of child sexualisation and commercialisation, calls for a single website where parents can go to complain about any programme, advert or product.
In a letter to the report’s author, Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to see the parents’ website up and running before he held a meeting of retailers, broadcasters and advertisers in October. He also wants to see action from Ofcom on the report’s recommendations by October.
The Prime Minister described the report as a “giant step forward for protecting childhood and making Britain more family-friendly”.
Parents should also have greater influence than viewers as a whole on decisions about what is suitable for children to watch on TV before the 9pm watershed, the report says.
As was expected, the report also calls for outdoor adverts which contain sexualised imagery to be restricted in areas where large numbers of children are likely to see them.
And it says age restrictions should be put on music videos to protect children.
Reg Bailey, who led the review, has encouraged retailers to sign up to a new set of childrenswear guidelines which state: “Fabrics and cut should provide for modesty”.
Mr Bailey, who is Chief Executive of Mothers’ Union, said: “Society has become increasingly full of sexualised imagery. This has created a wallpaper to children’s lives.”
He added: “Parents feel there is no escape and no clear space where children can be children. I want to put the power back in parents’ hands so they can better manage the pressures on their children and make it easier for them to bring up their children the way they want.”
A Telegraph editorial backed the report and warned: “If nothing is done, the bombardment of our children with inappropriate and sexualised material will continue, to the detriment of their development, and our culture.”
In December last year ITV’s X Factor came under fire for sleazy dance routines involving Christina Aguilera. Ofcom investigated but ruled the performance was on “the very margin of acceptability for broadcast”.