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Push to curb commercialisation and sexualisation of young children in the UK

Nine major retailers have signed up to new guidelines on the sale of inappropriate children’s clothing, including retailers which operate in Ireland.

Padded bras for young girls have caused some concern amongst parents.
Padded bras for young girls have caused some concern amongst parents.
Image: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

THE UK PRIME Minister has backed proposals to curb the commercialisation and sexualisation of young children with retailers – many of whom operate in Ireland – advertisers, broadcasters and the music industry among the areas being targeted.

David Cameron has backed proposals to shield children from sexual imagery across the media and tackle the commercialisation and in some cases sexualisation of young children by retailers and advertisers among others, reports The Guardian.

The recommendations of a report by the Christian charity Mothers’ Union will see so-called “lad’s mags” be sold in brown sleeves, the UK Advertising Standards Authority examine ways in which to discourage billboards near schools and music videos be given age-appropriate ratings.

However Cameron will not introduce legislation to this effect meaning that the onus will on those industries affected to enforce the proposals voluntarily within the next 18 months.

Cameron said that changes must come through “social responsibility, not state control”.

BBC News reports that parents will be able to highlight examples of child sexualisation on a new website with new home internet services, laptops and mobiles phones having an option to ban adult material.

The review coincides with “good practice” guidance issued by the British Retail Consortium which has introduced stricter guidelines on the sale of inappropriate children’s clothing including lace lingerie and push-up bras.

Nine stores, some of whom operate in Ireland, have signed up to the guidelines with others urged to participate.

These include Asda, Debenhams, Argos, John Lewis, Next, Marks & Spencer, Peacocks, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Of those, five operate in Ireland.

Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Next, and Argos told TheJournal.ie the guidelines would apply to their Irish operations.

Tesco did not return a request for comment at the time of publication.

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Hugh O'Connell

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