Friday 24 September 2010

Pocket money porn on display

Photo courtesy of The Front Page Campaign

We are concerned that sexually graphic material on the covers of newspapers and magazines displayed at the eye level of children is a contributing factor to the premature sexualisation of children which are seeing in our society.  In the words of David Cameron, we appear to be ‘sleepwalking to a place where porn is the norm’.

During the election campaign Mr Cameron promised that if he was elected he would bring in ‘a series of new rules to help families protect children from premature sexualisation’ 

This was formalised as a Commitment Number 14 in the Coalition Agreement:
‘We need to make our society more family friendly and to take action to protect children from excessive commercialisation and premature sexualisation … We will crack down on irresponsible advertising and marketing, especially to children.  We will also take steps to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.”

We have lobbied government on this issue and we are hoping it may be possible to attach an amendment to the upcoming Education and Children’s bill to tackle the display of these publications.  We are working with several other organisations for whom this is a concern and we are asking the Minister for Education to insert clauses into the Bill to introduce provisions to ensure that unsuitable sexually graphic material is not displayed at or below children's eye-level, near children's publications or without opaque sleeves.  We also calling for printed media to be assigned age ratings such as are assigned to films.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Is the watershed working?

A new report on the commercialization of childhood was published this week.  Commissioned by the Mothers’ Union the report detailed the impact of advertising and marketing on children’s happiness.

The researchers questioned 1,004 parents of children under 18 and two-thirds of them thought television, films, magazines and the internet made children sexually aware at a younger age than they would be otherwise.  Some 67% of the parents questioned thought that the watershed was not being adhered to and unsuitable content was broadcast prior to 9pm.

This doesn’t come as any surprise but does raise questions about the Broadcasting Code’s assertion that programmes should conform to ‘generally accepted standards’; this survey suggests that they are not doing so.

Over the summer we saw a survey from the BBC which found that people didn’t mind TV violence - although they only asked 300 people, some of whom were under 18.  Ofcom also published a survey in which they found that viewers didn’t mind swearing – this time they only asked 130, this time from ‘minority groups’.

If you are concerned that what you've seen on television has fallen short of the acceptable standard please do take the times to let the broadcaster know; if you don't your silence will be taken as approval of what is shown and nothing will change.  Our website has all the emails, address and numbers that you need to get in touch with broadcaster.