There's a "report" doing the rounds of the media this morning from The Chartered Institute of Marketing. The press association report is here, and given the utter failure of anyone in the mainstream media to apply anything approaching critical thought, I thought I'd give it a go.
Most parents remain concerned about the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood a year after an independent review of the pressures on children growing up, a study finds.I'd want to know how the question was asked. "Do you think sexualised advertising should be targeted at young Children" followed by "are you concerned about this?" which is clearly leading. Of course no newspaper or TV channel asks these (to me) obvious questions; this is why the Main Stream Media news is a dead-industry-walking. It's clear, though to anyone capable of abstract thought the pollsters are probably looking for the answer they've already picked.
Nine in 10 parents (90%) still think there are problems with the way some companies advertise to children...
...and 85% are unaware of the dedicated complaints and advice website ParentPort, according to a poll for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)Did ParentPort have any input into this "report"? I think we should be told.
The survey comes a year after the report by Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey, entitled Letting Children Be Children, which called on businesses and broadcasters to play their part in protecting young people from the "increasingly sexualised wallpaper surrounding them".Of course if Padded bras for young children didn't sell, then companies wouldn't make them. You do, of course have the right to NOT BUY PADDED BRAS FOR YOUR TODDLER, or complain to the manager of the store where they're sold. And why is the Chief Executive of the Mothers' Union called 'Reg'?
Parents remain most concerned about sexually explicit outdoor advertising, marketing during children's TV programmes and inappropriate products for children, such as padded bras, the poll says.
Of course, little girls love shiny things and bright clothing. They like dressing up like adults and playing with mummy's makeup (usually with messy results - lipstick's a bastard to get out of a carpet) The "sexualisation" of kids is more about adult's view of kids than kids' views of sex. Recently, when I was swimming in a public pool, a 3-year old stripped off, squealing with delight as she was chased round the pool by a red-faced father carrying a swimsuit. This isn't sexual behaviour, she was just enjoying a game of chase. She doesn't have a view of sex, yet. It doesn't stop society seeing her as a sexual object. This is the downside of the paedo scare, and probably more harmful to childrens' development than a Rihanna video.
Targeting children on Facebook and in stores are other significant concerns.Children should be 13 years old before they have a facebook account. This is unenforceable, but it really is up to parents to monitor what kids do online.
The CIM is calling on the Government to work directly with the marketing industry to "deal with these pressing issues once and for all".Anyone calling on the Government to "work with them" is a demand for money, power or both.
David Thorp, director of CIM research, said: "It's clear that parents still have very real concerns about the way some companies try to sell to children. The marketing profession needs to address these concerns but we also want a dialogue between parents, the Government and industry bodies to ensure that our solutions are lasting and effective.Newspeak for GIVE ME FUNDING and STATUTORY POWER.
The advertising that parents see and worry about is only the visible tip of the iceberg. Marketing runs much deeper and touches on every part of product development, buying and placement. Our research shows parents trust and respect the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as a regulatory body but the ASA is only able to tackle part of the problem. By looking at the often-invisible marketing decisions which lead to the creation of products like padded bras for children, we can treat the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.The cause of the market for padded bras for children, who have no money of their own, is poor parenting by people who buy padded bras for children. But seeing as girls are developing breasts as young as eight or nine, are we talking about "padded bras" or "foam cups"? If your girl is developing breasts, you need to buy her a bra. This too need not be a sexualised event. That it is, says more about the adult than the little girl.
"We need to ensure that every decision that companies take about marketing to children is responsible and appropriate. Parents should never have to react to inappropriate marketing. The Chartered Institute of Marketing wants to sit down with the Government to provide clarity and leadership for the marketing profession.""We" Who's 'we'?. Who decides what appropriate marketing? Ah... I see, the Chartered institute of marketing sees the secure funding of the Advertising Standards Authority, and wants some of that love.
The ASA said: "The work that regulators, including the ASA, continue to undertake in responding positively to the recommendations in the Bailey review (Letting Children Be Children) has been welcomed by government as well as family and parenting groups."A bunch of nanny state ninnies have asked for more laws. A professional association has seen an opportunity to become a regulator.
A non-story. If you don't like a product, don't buy it for your daughter. If you're offended, complain to the store, or launch a boycott. Please don't ask for more unenforceable law or give a professional association statutory powers they don't deserve. Multiply the regulatory approach across an economy and you regulate innovation away, resulting in stagnation. Make parents take responsibility for their offspring, don't make me pay for the ad-men in tax as well as prices.
The current scare about 'Sexting' is likewise ridiculous. Kids aren't allowed out, mainly because of the paedo-scare. Behaviour, Dr's & Nurses; Show me yours, I'll show you mine; early-teen sexual fumbling and so on used occur behind the bike shed. It now happens over mobile and social networks. It happens earlier because the surge of hormones leading to feelings about the opposite sex happens earlier. This isn't a major danger. Some sad old men get hold of some of the pictures and masturbate. Meh. They're miles away. If you're desperately worried, don't give your kid a data tarriff on their mobile phone, and MONITOR WHAT THEY'RE DOING ONLINE. It's called parenting. It's not easy, but it's not the state's job either.
Harsh, I know. But the state is almost never the answer to this sort of thing.