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How should products aimed at children be monitored?

09:36 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

Retailers selling sexualised products aimed at children could face restrictions under plans being considered by the government. What measures would you like to see introduced?

An inquiry is getting under way to explore whether new rules should prevent the marketing of items such as "Porn star" T-shirts or padded bras to children. Among the measures being considered is a code of conduct on "age appropriate" marketing, or setting up a watchdog.

Children's Minister Sarah Teather said parents faced a tidal wave of pressure to buy these products. She said: "There are huge pressures on children to grow up too quickly and to buy stuff, some of which is completely unsuitable."

Should there be a watchdog that monitors children's products? Should retailers selling sexualised products aimed at children be penalised? Do your children pressurise you to buy things you think are unsuitable?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    I blame the parents!

  • Comment number 2.

    Monitoring depends on the economic power of the company who sells the product.

    Big conglomerates selling sugar loaded chocolate gunk for a childs breakfast get a free pass while egg adverts get banned.

    Government oversight has completely failed, they really should stop pretending that they can help.

  • Comment number 3.

    I say let them keep their 'adult' clothes. Just makes it easier to see who will need psychiatric help down the line, or other forms of intervention.

  • Comment number 4.

    Would anyone make the stuff if there were not buyers for it?

    Regulation? What are you really going to enforce a law that says knots are tied in tubes or tubes are severed? Because that is what it will take.

  • Comment number 5.

    Retailers will sell, that is what they do. Parents should parent it is what they are SUPPOSED to do. Perhaps some should be more discerning in what they allow children to have.

  • Comment number 6.

    Class these items as adult clothing rather than children’s, this will at least remove the zero VAT rating. O.K that’s the practical side of things, for the unpractical (wish list) sterilise any adult that would allow their child to wear these products.

  • Comment number 7.

    The problem is parents buying inappropriate goods for their kids.
    If they stopped buying, the companies marketing the crap would soon stop making their tat.

    Used to need a licence to have a dog, but there has never been any control over who can breed!

  • Comment number 8.

    I am afraid the Genie is out of the Bottle.. Who let it out ?


    Guess New Labour ... The Blair Brown Combo once again abusing the government majority they had at the time ...
    Gone is censorship ... or the majority of it anyway ... BUT more importantly is the so called "watershed " has disappeared .
    It does mater whether that watershed applies to Television or society in general, it's disappearance as exposed the young to Adult material .. In some cases it is even forced upon young children ..


    Freedom of expression is one thing ..Behaving like an antisocial moron is another ..

    It will take an awful of moralizing to return to the society were children are protected from adult material and bad language

  • Comment number 9.

    The advertisers know exactly what they are doing. They have children themselves.
    They will try to sell anything to anyone to try to relieve them from their cash, and there is no effective legislation to control their activities.
    Advertisers need robust legislation to curb their activities and stop them from brainwashing adults and children alike.
    Look at any advert especially on tv. The claims they make, the half-truths and the cleverly worded and highly misleading statements they make should be closely scrutinised and rejected unless they are entirely free of ambiguity.

    Take any advert for a car. They will show the car being driven at dangerously high speeds on winding country roads, usually with the inappropriate use of fog lamps and on the wrong side of the road. Adverts should be realistic and should not promote dangerous driving or law-breaking. And to attempt to sell inappropriate products to small children is beneath contempt.

  • Comment number 10.

    Whatever happened to the age of innocence? Why can't children be allowed to grow up at their own pace these days? Childhood is a precious time and they should be encouraged to enjoy it. They will have plenty of time to be adults when they are adults.

    I understand the comments about the parents being more choosy regarding what they allow their children to have but serious questions need to be asked of the manufacturers who try to sexualise children. The biggest question is why?!

    The media also has to take a look at iself - in particular those parts of the media that are aimed at children. Teenagers are children too let's not forget.

  • Comment number 11.

    A sad refelection of the world we live in! As long as we have the brain dead who revere people like Jordan or whatever she is calling herself this week, there will be a market for inappropriate clothing and products.

    We have a very simple policy when it comes to our daughters clothing, a very short word, some of you may even be familiar with it - NO!

    That said said it didnt stop the elder form trying to make her own t-shirt - credit where credit is due for ingenuity......

  • Comment number 12.

    By the parents. If parents let children buy, or buy for them, things which are unacceptable, it's their fault and shows why bad parenting is such a problem in this country.

  • Comment number 13.

    It is time for the madness to stop. Society has vilified motherhood for a generation or more, it has become a worthless role seen as of no value whatsoever to society!

    The media, the government and society at large are to blame for the lack of proper parenting in our society.

    WHO would take pride in a role which is seen by so many in such a bad light? Where for the very act of having a child, whole sections of society are viewed as scroungers.



  • Comment number 14.

    Start with a well known brand of shoes / boots for girls ten and under beginning with 'L'. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the ad where they boast they give free lipstick and vanity case with every pair, which showed girls of about six applying lipstick. Whatever happened to the concept of childhood?

  • Comment number 15.

    Kids will always put pressure on parents to buy them the latest gadget or the most recent fashion item. Kids have huge pressure put on them to " fit in " with their peers and be seen to be part of the gang. Advertisers know all of this. It`s down to parents to say no every so often. Advertisers need to be told we won`t tolerate half-truths and duplicity in their advertising and to stop trying to over-ride parents when advertising to children and at this time of year the companies will go all out to sell this stuff as it`s their most profitable time of year.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Sex" related products and selling are a major force in commerce generally, it's hard to keep children away from it.

    Just try checking the spelling of "amatuer" by trying a google search, like it or not PORN is thrown back as the first entries, it's only takes a few clicks to find and play free porn video. No valid entries for "amatuer" eg: amatuer sports etc etc.

    Unless we have a sea change right across all aspects of commerce and life we are not going to solve this problem.

    Of course awakening or encouraging basic instincts in children too young (the age varies) is to be avoided, but giants like Google seem unwilling to change their search result practice (we've tried for a couple of years through Google and CEOP to no avail).

    We see things now we never saw in the 1950's and 1960's, for example a 12/13 year old girl (in a group) holding forward a half rolled "joint" to a retired stranger walking a dog in the park and asking "do you roll".

    There was a time when whole communities looked after each others children who learned social values and to respect adults through this process.

    Badly behaved children quickly corrected themselves after a thick ear or a dressing down, now we can't do any of that and what have we got?

    Isn't the whole problem really down to the fragmentation and decline of quality community life?

  • Comment number 17.

    This is nothing new. It's a trend which I noticed in the seventies, when teaching in a primary school: little girls of five and under with pierced ears, six and seven year olds wearing high heeled shoes in school and turning up for swimming lessons in bikini swimsuits. Then it became worse. We had make-up for 8 year olds, and permed hair when they were ten. Parents have treated these children as Barbie dolls for a long time, and nothing was said. Now, at last, someone is noticing and there is talk of legislating against it. But surely, parents are the only ones with power to stop it. Once again, a problem which could be solved by the education of parents.

  • Comment number 18.

    Do what we did and educate children about this from an early age. Make sure they know that there's a whole industry devoted to controlling their opinions and self-image. Describe this in simple terms and they'll understand perfectly. They won't like the idea that someone's out to manipulate them; children are far smarter than we think! The problem is that far too many parents themselves subscribe to these poor cultural values. You get the children you deserve, but they are the ones who carry the burden.

  • Comment number 19.

    This does need to be addressed. Kids should be kids. I dispise seeing kids forced to give up fun for 'education' (some kids dont have a clue about fun) and I dispise seeing kids (usually young girls) wanting to look and act like tarts.

    In my family I have cousins who were barely up to my knee in height but dance like lapdancers because of the pop singers at the time. Luckily their parents make them dress appropreately but I think if young kids were taught self respect there would be less rape cases. Being taught the difference between a prostitute/lapdancer/stripper and normal behaviour would make all the difference.

  • Comment number 20.

    If nobody bought the dreadful stuff then it would soon disappear from the High Street.I am amazed that any responsible parent would actually want their children to dress in such a manner.There are clearly some very dozy folk wandering about so what hope is there for their children?

  • Comment number 21.

    It's not the products or the companies that sell them that need regulating. It's the pop groups and tv programmes dressed innapropriately before the watershed that should be. Address the cause not the symptom- prevent pop videoes with bicini clad women talking about booty and flashing their backsides from being shown on music television just as swearing and violence are not allowed on mainstream tv, then the desire that youngsters will have to look and behave like that will be reduced.

  • Comment number 22.

    Not sure our current Government will regulate anything that is making money so start with the parents - they are after all the people who purchase the items for their children. Post #11 hits the jackpot for me - simply say no. Your kids may have a slight tantrum but they'll be over it within hours. It's also good not to raise spoilt brats - they'll be better people for it when they're adults.

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh yes, that's just what we need isn't it - more rules and regulations! Nanny state nonsense in my opinion. Deciding which clothes should be bought for youngsters should be the PARENTS responsibility, not the state! (And if the parents weren't buying this stuff, it wouldn't be on sale in the first place!)

    The only responsibility the government should have is making sure that the product is safe to use. Beyond that, it's NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!

  • Comment number 24.

    12. At 10:43am on 06 Dec 2010, Kuradi Vitukari wrote:
    By the parents. If parents let children buy, or buy for them, things which are unacceptable, it's their fault and shows why bad parenting is such a problem in this country.

    First time I have agreed with this guy!

    Tried amateur and amatuer, and my god if you can't spell, then you are led straight to porn, like wvpTV said!
    Imagine that happening on the internet!

  • Comment number 25.

    "I blame the parents" ? How very helpful

    Having raised two children myself I totally understand the difficulties in protecting a childs innocence. It's virtually impossible.

    Some of my children's friends parents did not share the same values I did and they would come home from school with all sorts of unsuitable information.

    There are some adults that do not see the harm in letting our children see/experience adult emotions as they are 'going to be exposed to it eventually anyway' Well the key word here is 'eventually', indicating that there is a time when they are emotionally mature enough to cope with adult content.

    A hard faced salesperson has zero interest in a child's wellbeing. They are focussed on targets, profit margin and sales volume. They can focus products at immature/disinterested parents and, once introduced via those parents, you then become the uncool out of touch old sod who has no idea about modern ideas and just want to stop them having fun.

    By the end of the school holidays I always had the children I wanted. One week back into term time I was back to fighting against negative influences. It was relentless.

    So, apart from locking them away until they are adults, it would be refreshing for other adults to take some responsibility in attempting to keep what little childhood modern children are allowed.

    I would like to know the names of the designers of some of the clothing aimed at little girls that have inappropriate motifs. Bet they're not parents. I think it says a lot about them as people.

    Also the designer that thought it was ok to design a sweatshirt for young lads with a pocket specificaly designed to hold a knife. How very creative.

  • Comment number 26.

    agree 100% with No.1 ... parents unfit to keep a gerbil, never mind a child

  • Comment number 27.

    "
    13. At 10:46am on 06 Dec 2010, holierthanthou wrote:

    The media, the government and society at large are to blame for the lack of proper parenting in our society.

    "

    I agree, stupid celebrity/reality TV programs, idiotic magazines, political correctness and Government policy which encourages Mothers to have more children because they get "paid" more, have contributed to the problem. However, the fact remains that there are still too many stupid/useless people out there who keep producing even more children who will become the next generation of stupid/useless people. People need to take more responsibility for their actions, but in today's society, they do not have and expect society to be there for them all the time.

  • Comment number 28.

    We need to take back control of our children.

    How mad is this society where it is seen as respectable to PAY someone to mind your children but wholly wrong for birth parents to do the role?

    You are all stark raving mad.

  • Comment number 29.

    I agree with the following comments
    1. At 10:06am on 06 Dec 2010, Poprishchin wrote: I blame the parents!
    5. At 10:21am on 06 Dec 2010, holierthanthou
    8. At 10:24am on 06 Dec 2010, Lord Rant: I am afraid the Genie is out of the Bottle, Who let it out? and
    10. At 10:38am on 06 Dec 2010, Geoff.
    The following each have their duties & responsibilities towards children and they all have to play their part and take it seriously - Parents, Companies that produce the products, the advertisers that push the products and the media outlet for accepting to place the ads on tv, radio or print/mags. Since all that has failed, the govt then has to intervene by monitoring inappropriate products aimed at children and to stop it by regulation and penalties/punishment. Part of the problem in today's society is moral decadence over the years and it will take years to re-learn the right values.

  • Comment number 30.

    1. At 10:06am on 06 Dec 2010, Poprishchin wrote:
    I blame the parents!

    ===========================

    So do I!

    If people weren't stupid enough to buy 'Porn-Star' t-shirts or padded bras for 7 years-olds, the shops wouldn't sell them. Shops are there to make a profit; if people don't buy the product, the shop will stop stocking it.

    Parents need to act like adults and say 'No' when pestered by their children to buy products that are clearly unsuitable. The products would soon disappear from the shelves.

  • Comment number 31.

    My children don't pressurise me to buy this nonsense simply because they know that I would say "NO". Perhaps if a few more parents actually used some parenting skills, refused to be dictated to by their children and instead educated them the idiotic, grasping retailers would not sell this rubbish because there would be no market for it.

    What I find more disturbing is the complete sexualisation of women in the "modern" pop video that portrays them as nothing more than anorexic harlots, a vision that is continually thrust at young girls by all areas of the media. I would like my girls to grow up in a society that judges a persons worth by the content of their character, not one where females are only considered successful or worthwhile if they dress and behave like a painted strumpet.

    What a "modern" world we live in where girls are encouraged to look and act like a Jezebel.

  • Comment number 32.


    Can those screaming 'blame the parents' please indicate whether they have, or care for a child, full time

    Conception - doddle

    Pregnancy - doddle

    Squeezing them out - doddle compared to the ensuing 20 years



  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    Guidelines are no good. The industry will not police itself, there is too much money to be made by selling nasty, expoitative kit to stupid parents. Police should be compelled to act appropiately on behalf of any member of the public offended by a 7yr old girl wearing a T shirt saying "Wannabe Porn Star" (or for that matter a bumper sticker proclaiming " Not happy with my driving? Call 0800 ***** you"). There is too much of this offensive (to normal people) stuff going on now. Let the courts decide.

  • Comment number 35.

    “Children's Minister Sarah Teather said parents faced a tidal wave of pressure to buy these products” – I’m sorry Sarah Teather but parents have faced tidal waves of pressure to buy things for their children since time immemorial. I’m sure my grandchildren put pressure on my children to buy things, just as my children did to me and I did to my parents and so on backwards.

    It doesn’t need new “codes of conduct” (which are worthless anyway). It does not need watchdogs nor, before anyone suggests it, a “child advertising czar”. It simply needs parents to say “no” and enforce some standards. Isn't that what being a parent is all about?

  • Comment number 36.

    You have to ask yourself; "Why does a company, run by adults, want to sell sexualised products to a child?" There is one answer: to make money!
    Then you have to wonder about the mental and moral position of an adult who wants to sexualise a child purely for money.
    Do we want these people running big companies? Do we want people around who link money and sex with children?

  • Comment number 37.

    So what is the correct target age for padded bras???
    If its not 8 years then is it 9 or 10 or 11 or what???

  • Comment number 38.

    "Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it... All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children."
    - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 2

    It's happening....

  • Comment number 39.

    #36 - Adelaide

    I agree, thats why designers should be named personally and connected directly to a product design and the top people who give these things the go ahead should also be named

    They may then start to focus on how they are individually being perceived about putting 'porn star' on a kiddie T shirt rather than just seeing pound signs in their greedy little sights

  • Comment number 40.

    Just been out in the blizzard - again - and thought I had wandered into a prostitutes convention, turns out the local secondary school has decided to close!

    I kid you not, but even in a blizzard there was one girl maybe 14/15 wearing less than my Mrs usually wears to bed!

    So perhaps we are all overlooking an aspect of this, schools MUST enforce a dress code too.

    Whilst the girl in question was wearing school uniform of sorts, black skirt/white blouse/tie (no jacket) I dont think that a skirt so short that she couldnt bend over without exposing herself or a blouse that had more buttons undone than done up with the tie dangling is quite what the school had in mind when they devised the uniform.

  • Comment number 41.

    Government can legislate but it is the responsibility of the parents.

    I cannot believe some of the things some parents think are acceptable for their children to wear and do. It makes me question whether they deserve to be parents in the first place.

  • Comment number 42.

    Yes they should be monitored. All foods that are aimed at children but which fail a defined quality test should be taxed eg: Kids Meals etc.

    Whilst the vendors of items that foster promiscuity such as t-shirts with inappropriate images/statements should result in a heavy fine for the seller. Likewise parents who allow their children to wear such items should be placed on a register and given additional parenting training.

  • Comment number 43.

    Close these people down, tell them to get a decent job.

  • Comment number 44.


    38. At 11:23am on 06 Dec 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    "...It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children."
    - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 2

    It's happening....

    but how about...

    "The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have
    no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all
    restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes
    for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are
    forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress."



    Said by Peter the Hermit over 700 years ago

    or

    "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
    authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
    rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
    chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
    legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."


    Said either by Socrates or Plato (dispute as to which) about 2400 years ago.

    Things don't change!

  • Comment number 45.

    CoeurDeHamster...

    If the word child was replaced with black/woman/gay/hindu et cetera, it would be classed as a hate crime...

    We have spent centuries blaming children for our failings it has to stop.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hmm, right, more non-jobs for Local Govt then. Joke.

    More Court cases for us to fund caused by the over zealous, and the good coming from it given TV? Hardly any as far as I can see.

    Complete waste of money.

  • Comment number 47.

    A couple of points

    Why a code of conduct, such codes are usually voluntary and hence open to abuse and - are our politicians to weak to pass legislation? Unfortunately yes

    Will leaders address one of the underlying issues - the dominance in popular culture of imagary that shows women as sex objects, especially in the music industry

  • Comment number 48.

    44. At 11:41am on 06 Dec 2010, CoeurDeHamster wrote:

    but how about...

    "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
    authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
    rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
    chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
    legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."

    Said either by Socrates or Plato (dispute as to which) about 2400 years ago.

    Things don't change!

    ----------------------------------------

    I'm happy for kids not to rise when elders enter the room and challenge authority. You may as well buy a dog if you want something to pander to your every command.

    Giving kids freedom to express themselves in a safe environment is key. Letting them challenge idealism and form their own sense of morals is fine. Thrusting sexual provocative clothes on them is not.

  • Comment number 49.

    This is obviously targetting young girls.
    I don't see there to be much of a problem with what young boys wear.
    Now when you consider that a major male fantasy item is a school uniform what exactly are the government going to consider sexually suggestive?
    This is just a rubblsh idea from a silly woman who herself still appears to have not grown up.
    Like most people say something like this has to be policed buy the parents.

  • Comment number 50.

    This total and utter nonsense about how kids "play" and develop is the best way to give a child a complex about being an adult, with all the ramifications it brings with it. For goodness sake let kids grow up in their own way in the Society that surrounds them, they live in the Adult world not some parallel universe. We've just got rid of Labour's "Nanny State" set up, CEOP and it's now "sacked" CEO who cruelly exploited his position to such extremes that we do not want to see again in a new Agency interfreing with the how kids grow up. Kids see sexuality as child as a game, thye are NOT sexual or sexualised, girls have always tried on Mum's clothes and make-up, and boys play games of Soliders and in my day Cowboy's and Indian's. This interference is Nanny State nonsense, just as the Nanny State hideousy that crminalises those who posess or view images of Page3 type pics of 16 and 17 year olds. Get real, humans mature earlier now and should be participating Adults and working at an earlier age not increasing the age of retirement.

  • Comment number 51.

    How do I, as a (hopefully) responsible parent teach my daughter how to pick appropriate clothing for her size, shape and age?

    By looking at what is available and educating her in how to best develop her own style. That, of course, includes looking at things that are wildly inappropriate and helping her to understand WHY they are not appropriate for her.

    Note that I say 'develop her own style' - I don't expect her to accept my ideas any more than anyone else's (if nothing else, she's not the same shape!) but to learn how to actually make choices for herself rather than accept anyone else's ideas blindly.

  • Comment number 52.

    They should be monitored by parents, teaching your child to think for themselves and not blindly follow fads and fashions will serve them well in adult life.

    Also, this is the sort of issue the church could get some mileage out of. If they want to be a moral authority they should stop obessessing about gay bishops and women vicars. If they had focussed on promoting sensible moral positions in this type of issue, then they would find themselves in a much more relevent position today than they currently are.

  • Comment number 53.


    45. At 11:46am on 06 Dec 2010, Have your say Rejected wrote:

    CoeurDeHamster...

    If the word child was replaced with black/woman/gay/hindu et cetera, it would be classed as a hate crime...

    We have spent centuries blaming children for our failings it has to stop.

    Dear Have your say Rejected

    Did you see my comment at #45?

    where I say

    It simply needs parents to say “no” and enforce some standards. Isn't that what being a parent is all about?

    I really fail to see your point about "black/woman/gay/hindu et cetera"

  • Comment number 54.

    35. At 11:16am on 06 Dec 2010, CoeurDeHamster wrote:
    “Children's Minister Sarah Teather said parents faced a tidal wave of pressure to buy these products” – I’m sorry Sarah Teather but parents have faced tidal waves of pressure to buy things for their children since time immemorial. I’m sure my grandchildren put pressure on my children to buy things, just as my children did to me and I did to my parents and so on backwards.

    It doesn’t need new “codes of conduct” (which are worthless anyway). It does not need watchdogs nor, before anyone suggests it, a “child advertising czar”. It simply needs parents to say “no” and enforce some standards. Isn't that what being a parent is all about?
    =================================
    The trouble is your approach does not and will never work.
    If everyone was a model citizen we wouldnt need any laws at all would we? So, your argument is completely erroneous.
    This is a legislation issue. Pass a law, have trading standards et al. implement it.
    Stop messing about with these corporate exploiters - hit them hard NOW.

  • Comment number 55.

    way way too late, we have a generation of the fatherless jez kyle types firmly in place. society will continue to be watered down by this large chav element as they seem to be very proficient breeders along with the immigrants who seem to think knocking out child after child guarantees citizenship . professional types are working too hard and long to even consider children. no way to reverse this as jobs dry up. if most young parents are katie price worshipping kids themselves then how can we change anything? i see girls who are still in primary school strutting about in hotpants whilst smoking !!!!! whatever next ? crotchless nappies ?

  • Comment number 56.

    What measures would I introduce?

    Err....none?

    Put simply, if parents give in to childrens' whining then they are making a rod for their own back. Santa doesn't have to get everything that is the "latest fashion" just because the child next door is going to get it. For most of the stuff it will be an 8-day wonder, so why all the hassle?

    Manufacturers make something. They then set about advertising it, sometimes very heavily. Children pick up that this must be a good thing to have, so start asking for it. This is where the buck stops, with the parents.

    I have always tried to get good presents for my children, being aware of their wishes and what is the "in" thing that year. Some years saw them not smiling quite so widely, yet their toys have all been well played with and they have not lost friends because they only got a PS3 between them last year while their friends had one for ages before that.

    So the measures I'd introduce are exactly nil - if parents want to perpetuate a consumerist society then they are welcome to. I will pick presents carefully again this year, with a mixture of useful and "must-have" that will hopefully see only the wrapping getting recycled again this year.

  • Comment number 57.

    "1. At 10:06am on 06 Dec 2010, Poprishchin wrote:
    I blame the parents!"

    You can't put ALL the blame on them. Only some it. Marketing has quite a lot to do with it too. Not all teens go shopping with the parents and are affected by marketing and peer pressure like every one else.

    Upbrining and parental control are factors but not the only ones.

  • Comment number 58.

    Children do grow up quick today. The hormones in foods and the use of birth control pills of their mothers years has generated a faster maturing youth.

    In the same fashion in the past in the age of my grandmother, people married very early and child brides existed even at the age of 12 years old with children by the time they were 14.

    The people were very poor and many laws were ignored and other ages put down on marriage certificates to pacify the law. My Grandmother worked in the cotton mills and raised 8 Children. She dipped snuff and had all her teeth. She was well respected and had annually held birthdays with hundreds bringing their best dish.(that occupation has been moved to cheaper wage earners in foreign countries.)

    Big Brother has made slaves of all our minds, it seems and children we seem to remain in his Eyes. Human beings their nature and instinct today is destroyed by the social system forcing us to accept a world that if we let it will not just kill us but bleed all lifes' pleasures from us.

  • Comment number 59.

    Daisy Chained wrote:

    Would anyone make the stuff if there were not buyers for it?

    #########

    You don't realise how this all works. The point of marketing is to make people think they cannot do without something - a good marketing campaign not only targets potential market sectors but also creates need within those sectors.

    This is why so many people buy stuff that they dont need even when they cannot afford it.

    The creation of this sort of product is proof that you really can sell anything if you know how.

    But that does not make it right.

  • Comment number 60.

    Billy wrote:

    They should be monitored by parents, teaching your child to think for themselves and not blindly follow fads and fashions will serve them well in adult life.

    Also, this is the sort of issue the church could get some mileage out of.

    ################

    Have you noticed how hard it is to get some parents, actually a lot of parents, to think for them selves? Think of the ridiculous queues of parents over the years desperately trying to buy "cabbage patch kids" because they are not strong enough to say NO to their child.

    As for the church, well Mothers Union is behind this particular promotion who are a Christian organisation.

  • Comment number 61.

    Unfortunately children will not fully comprehend the meaning of some of the clothing. They will think it's fun if they get a few disapproving looks, which is what growing up is all about. The trouble is not going to come from those giving disapproving looks. It's the ones who DO approve who will be a problem.

    Firm parenting is the way to deal with issues such as this. There will be a tantrum. Stand firm and there will not be too many more tantrums as children come to understand that "no" means "no", and that however mean Mum and Dad are, it's actually in the child's interests. After all, children will push the boundaries to the limit to see how far thy can go.

    And yes, I realise that it's hard work. Parenting always has been, but the longer you leave it, the harder it is to deal with.

    I can well understand why some members of the Muslim community must see our society as having no self-respect.







  • Comment number 62.

    Didn't they promise a END to the nanny state...?
    Just months in and every promise they made has been broken. Must ne a New record.
    If people are stupid enough to dress their kids in this rubbish, what business is it of anyone else ?

  • Comment number 63.

    adelaide wrote:

    You have to ask yourself; "Why does a company, run by adults, want to sell sexualised products to a child?" There is one answer: to make money!
    Then you have to wonder about the mental and moral position of an adult who wants to sexualise a child purely for money.
    Do we want these people running big companies? Do we want people around who link money and sex with children?

    ###########

    You are spot on here!

    As an advertising person I am horrified that these products exist in the first place, but hardly surprised.

    The things I have heard countless clients ask over the years when promoting any sort of product is:

    "How much can we get away with?"

    and

    "how can we get round the rules?"

    So, it is not much of a leap to see that a company will market something nasty purely because they think they can create a market for it.

  • Comment number 64.


    48. At 11:50am on 06 Dec 2010, Loony Liberal - wrote:
    ...
    I'm happy for kids not to rise when elders enter the room and challenge authority. You may as well buy a dog if you want something to pander to your every command.

    Oh dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Liberal - or may I call you Loony?

    Perhaps you should realise that "kids not to rise when elders enter the room" was something that either Socrates or Plato thought was bad behaviour. The whole point of the post was to show that the actions of children have been criticised by adults for over 2400 years. It is up to the parents to enforce what standards they think are suitable for their day and age.

  • Comment number 65.

    50. At 11:54am on 06 Dec 2010, jack wrote:

    This total and utter nonsense about how kids "play" and develop is the best way to give a child a complex about being an adult, with all the ramifications it brings with it. For goodness sake let kids grow up in their own way in the Society that surrounds them, they live in the Adult world not some parallel universe. We've just got rid of Labour's "Nanny State" set up, CEOP and it's now "sacked" CEO who cruelly exploited his position to such extremes that we do not want to see again in a new Agency interfreing with the how kids grow up. Kids see sexuality as child as a game, thye are NOT sexual or sexualised, girls have always tried on Mum's clothes and make-up, and boys play games of Soliders and in my day Cowboy's and Indian's. This interference is Nanny State nonsense, just as the Nanny State hideousy that crminalises those who posess or view images of Page3 type pics of 16 and 17 year olds. Get real, humans mature earlier now and should be participating Adults and working at an earlier age not increasing the age of retirement.

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    This is exactly the twisted view of childhood and adolescence that I as a responsible parent am trying to protect my children from. Page 3 pictures of a 16 year old is acceptable? Page 3 is nothing but cheap, sleazy porn that panders to the lowest common denominator.

  • Comment number 66.

    37. At 11:21am on 06 Dec 2010, jim wrote:
    So what is the correct target age for padded bras???
    If its not 8 years then is it 9 or 10 or 11 or what???

    ===========================

    There is no age - bras used to be purchased when girls began to develop breasts. So you're dealing with cup size, not age.

    Padded bras to get rid of wrinkles because the cup is slightly too big is one thing. Some of the "knee protectors" which seem to be put into bras now are ridiculous.

  • Comment number 67.

    CoeurDeHamster...

    My point is we have continually castigated and blamed children for mistakes we make, if we did this with a minority be it racial, religious, it could be classes as a crime. If we allowed an ethnic minority to be 'disciplined', forced them to attend a state institution 5 days a week and didn't allow them to vote, it would be wrong, maybe the issue is how we as adults treat young people.
    As a parent and a former young person I know that prohibition doesn't work with children, the more you tell a child not to do something the more they do it, I have found dealing with them as adults and explaining my reasoning usually helps my children comply with my requests.

  • Comment number 68.

    To all those stating that this is the parents issue to deal with...

    you are only partly right. Yes of course you want parents that understand that dressing your child and allowing your child to behave like some common street walker is inappropriate, but not all parents are as savvy, tuned in or as responsible as need be and in order to protect the child from parental mistakes of this nature, legislation will have to step in.

    Arguments that if that's your style of parenting then you are not fit to be a parent (whilst true) won't bring legislation from stopping these peole from breeding, thus the issue has to be approached from another angle. Seeking an end to the sale of any item or product with remote conotations to developing sexuality is the best foot forward in the case.

    The downside is that the media in general will be required to make a massive shift away from the decades long obsessionb with pop stars and the like that have fueled this craze in the first place.

    Brilliantly parodied by South Park in the episode on Paris Hilton.

  • Comment number 69.

    Should there be a watchdog that monitors children's products?
    There already is a watchdog, it's called parents.

    This government is slashing jobs and services left right and centre, how can they find the money for MP's to hold an enquiry into something like this? They'd be better off putting this money into education, it'd have a much greater positive affect on children than some prissy MP enquiry.

  • Comment number 70.

    YOU HAVE TO REMOVE THE PROBLEM AT SOURCE. MANUFACTURERS WHO MAKE INAPROPRIATE CLOTHES OR TOYS FOR CHILDREN SHOULD BE BANNED FORM DOING BUSINESS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
    THAT WOULD REQUIRE GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION.
    NO RIGHT THINKING PARENT WANTS TO SEXUALISE A CHILD.

  • Comment number 71.

    Jack

    Do humans mature earlier now? I don't think so.

    Knowing about sex and porn is not a indicator of maturity, the same as having a baby nowadays is deemed by some sections of society as being a 'grown up'.

    If you are a mum at 13, you are still a child, with a child.

    In my experience 'maturity' is reached far later today than 15-20 years ago.

    Exposure of adult material too soon just enforces a person to make decisions they are not ready to make or puts them in situations they are not ready to handle.

  • Comment number 72.

    It is ok to say blame the parents, but parents and children are being bombarded with all this advertising. I myself a parent of a 12 year girl would never allow her to ware anything inappropriate but then from a young age she was only allowed watch CBBC as i got fed up with her seeing adverts and then going on and on about wanting everything advertised.

    It is not easy when you have all this advertising and the peer pressure they have to deal with.

    There should be laws that ban the sale of inapropriate items to minors.

  • Comment number 73.

    When will any government of this country accept that parents have responsibility, and put the onus on them to police what their child eats/wears/behaves like/uses the internet for. Its all very well for "concerned groups" to demand that things are monitored and enquiries set up but these things cost (our) money. Parental responsibility, not regulation, is the key. If there is no demand for certain products then the shops will stop selling them.

  • Comment number 74.

    I am one of those who feel we have too much legislation, put in place as a knee-jerk reaction to political fashion (let alone children's fashion).

    If we want legislation it must been considered so that we don't build a house of cards, patching up areas that come under the heading of "The law of unintended consequences".

    Yes, not all parents are strong enough to bring their children up properly - or at all in some instances - but throwing legislation at them does nothing, as they don't care enough. We only hurt ourselves and create that world which we don't want for our children. We all want them to have freedoms, yet we are taking them all away because it's easier to get the government to legislate than do things ourselves.

  • Comment number 75.

    37. At 11:21am on 06 Dec 2010, jim wrote:

    So what is the correct target age for padded bras???
    If its not 8 years then is it 9 or 10 or 11 or what???

    ------------------------

    We class adult as 18. We allow sexual consent at 16 but it is still frowned on. As these are sexually motivated clothing products then they should be at the least 16 but probably 18. There is nothing wrong with these clothes when used by the right age range. The right age range is the one which can accept responsibility for their actions.

  • Comment number 76.

    The regulation should be done by the parents, crazy idea.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    "Should there be a watchdog that monitors children's products?"

    Shouldn't that be the parents? Just don't buy them! Just because your child asks for it, doesn't mean she should get it.

  • Comment number 79.

    All children should be free from the scourge of advertising until they are at least old enough to earn their own money

  • Comment number 80.

    We live in a much more sexualised world than we did and this is inevitably rubbing off onto children. The main TV channels broadcast such images every night and call it 'family entertainment'. Witness the current bizarre fascination with celebrity lifestyle and their (often) sleazy lives. Far from being positive role models their lives should a warning to anyone with a half a brain who wants to remain sane. The internet and music videos are also two areas where parents should take a much more proactive role and learn that placing boundaries on their children's actions and behaviour is the act of a good parent.

  • Comment number 81.

    49. At 11:52am on 06 Dec 2010, Semisatanic wrote:
    This is obviously targetting young girls.
    I don't see there to be much of a problem with what young boys wear.
    Now when you consider that a major male fantasy item is a school uniform what exactly are the government going to consider sexually suggestive?

    ======================================

    You imply that such a fantasy is normal and not suggestive. I beg to differ.

    Consider what it represents and then consider if that is actually normal or just another facet of the problem of adults not taking responsibility for their own actions and their effects.

    Q: Who wears school uniforms ? A: Underage children

    Therefore what could be considered normal about a fantasy of treating a representation of an underaged child as a sex object? Paedophillia is unambiguously wrong.

  • Comment number 82.

    im sorry

    you cant blame the parents for everything!
    companys push there products to kids as young as possible because then you have a customer for life!

    parents cant filter everything its impossible
    the companys are scum! the only thing they care about is ££££££'s
    and if taking advantage of your kids = £££ then so be it!

  • Comment number 83.

    The parents who buy this stuff for their kids should be prosecuted for paedophilia and so should the manufacturers of the products and the stores that sell them.

  • Comment number 84.

    Easy - boycott products which sexualise childhood, and boycott those companies and broadcasters who advertise them because its all about the money, not the products.

    I don't think this is a job for the government in a free market economy but perhaps ideal for the big society.

  • Comment number 85.

    The Lolita reference my be a referral to a Japanese fashion trend which is influencial in the UK. It does not refer to the film.

    In all other respects I agree this sexualisation of young girls is totally unacceptable

  • Comment number 86.

    I am astounded that somebody, somewhere thought it was okay to produce a tee-shirt for a child with a slogan saying "porn star". It is outrageous, beyond comprehension and obviously, very obviously wrong. A child wearing this tee-shirt has implicatiions for potential paedophillia I would suggest and I cannot believe that the designers did not know the implications of this type of clothing. What is wrong with these people for goodness sake!

    As for parents complaining they are under pressure from their children to buy them inappropriate clothing, remember that you are the grown up. You are in charge. You rule the roost. You set the boundaries and make the rules. You are the one with greater life experience. You are responsible for protecting the health, welfare and well-being of your children. You are not your child's friend, you are their parent and can play the bad-guy by saying firmly and fairly, "no".

  • Comment number 87.

    Does anyone coming up with this legislation have the bottle to target Disney for its years of targetting young hormonal children with talentless actors/musicians who have pretty faces (Jonas brothers, Myley Cyrus et al)?

    Or is it just easier to blame manufacturers of somewhat misguided but relatively harmless T-shirts that kids are probably too young to understand anyway?

  • Comment number 88.

    I think retailers and parents are both responsible to a degree.

    Obviously parents have the overall reponsiblity - I remember getting ready for a New Years Eve party when I was about 12 and my dad telling me 'you are not going out like that' and he made me change my clothes or I was not going.

    As for lap dancing kits and thongs for 9 year olds retailers should not sell but parents should not permit the purchase or confiscate the items.

    Children should be allowed to explore but the kind of items we are talking about here should be left until the later teenage years.



  • Comment number 89.

    8. At 10:24am on 06 Dec 2010, Lord Rant wrote:
    "I am afraid the Genie is out of the Bottle.. Who let it out ?


    Guess New Labour ... The Blair Brown Combo once again abusing the government majority they had at the time ..."

    Yes, because governments have influence over fashion, don't they? Idiot.

  • Comment number 90.

    81. At 12:36pm on 06 Dec 2010, Whistling Neil wrote:

    49. At 11:52am on 06 Dec 2010, Semisatanic wrote:
    This is obviously targetting young girls.
    I don't see there to be much of a problem with what young boys wear.
    Now when you consider that a major male fantasy item is a school uniform what exactly are the government going to consider sexually suggestive?

    ======================================

    You imply that such a fantasy is normal and not suggestive. I beg to differ.

    Consider what it represents and then consider if that is actually normal or just another facet of the problem of adults not taking responsibility for their own actions and their effects.

    Q: Who wears school uniforms ? A: Underage children

    Therefore what could be considered normal about a fantasy of treating a representation of an underaged child as a sex object? Paedophillia is unambiguously wrong.

    ----------------------

    Oddly enough role play is used to keep relationships alive where the sex life is failing. Legislating against adult sex lives is just as daft as sexualising children. The age limit for sex has been massively raised since the past (which I dont think is a bad thing) but the male human brain is geared to finding younger more attractive. So the aspects of 'naughty' will always play a part in adult relationships. It is shown that serial killers tend to come from relationships which are more conservative/forced to be more conservative.

    Get a moderately attractive woman, give her pigtails and stand her infront of a line of men. Men cannot stop what they find attractive, only control their actions when they are attracted. But everyone has limits and when women and young girls walk around dressed and acting like hookers it is easy to see where an amount of crime comes from.

  • Comment number 91.

    How should products aimed at children be monitored?

    Every child should have a CCTV recording devise permanently attached to their head, connected to the Ministry of Righteousness and Nanny, they could monitor all families in this matter and send any 'wayward' folk off to the re-education centre of excellence and right thinking!

    Alternatively, the state might venture to stop interfering in private matters and leave such stuff to parenting...Maybe a few 'public information' broadcasts to 'educate' parents is sufficient.

  • Comment number 92.

    TimothyWhiskers wrote:

    The Lolita reference my be a referral to a Japanese fashion trend which is influencial in the UK. It does not refer to the film.

    ####

    "Lotita" is a phrase used in Japan and many other places to describe very young pornography.

  • Comment number 93.

    My daughter persuaded me to attend a dance festival, at which my 11 year-old granddaughter was performing with her primary school dance team.
    I watched, horrified, as these children wiggled lasciviously to rap music, dressed in skimpy clothing.
    They were led by two young teachers, women in their 20s, who gyrated enthusiastically themselves.
    I mentioned to my daughter, that I thought it pure paedophile fodder, but was told I was a kill-joy old fart, who should accept that the world and its standards of behaviour have moved on since the Jurassic era of my childhood.
    I was a teenager in the 60s - my daughter forgets that.

  • Comment number 94.

    Whenever I see padded training bras, cropped tops and miniskirts for 8-year olds I cringe and wonder what kind of sick people a) designed those clothes, b) thought it was a good idea to sell them, and c) thought they were appropriate to buy for their own 8-year old daughters.

    As a parent of a daughter I do find it worrying that clothes like that are available on the market and would be much happier if they weren't. I'm fully aware that in the end it's my decision as a parent what I allow my daughter to wear, but I'd rather I didn't have to face the questions about why I find something inappropriate until she's old enough to understand the explanation. I can police what she wears, but I can't police what her friends wear and peer pressure can be very destructive to little girls.

    If I'm honest, I'd support some sort of ban on certain outfits (or lack thereof) being worn on TV pre-watershed. A huge part of the problem lies in music video channels and family entertainment programmes showing women parading around in very provocative outfits, leaving very little to the imagination. Young girls idolise pop stars and dancers and want to be just like them and it can be very difficult for a parent to explain that dressing that way is not the way to get ahead in life when they see that those girls are raking in millions by appearing on family TV dressed like porn stars.

    As with everything, it IS ultimately the parents' responsibility to ensure that their children are dressed and behave appropriately, but I don't see why sensible legislation shouldn't be brought in to make it easier for us. After all, no sane person can possibly think it's a good idea for little girls to prance around like prostitutes so why not dissuade the kind of culture that encourages this? We've banned certain adverts that promote unhealthy eating so why not ban unhealthy role models as well?

  • Comment number 95.

    Dominic wrote:

    "Should there be a watchdog that monitors children's products?"

    Shouldn't that be the parents? Just don't buy them! Just because your child asks for it, doesn't mean she should get it.

    ##################

    You miss the point entirely.

    It is not just the selling, but the marketing. A parent can say no, but it is a never ending battle if manufactures and retailers are given carte blanch to sell directly to the kids as much as they like!

  • Comment number 96.

    it's a case of 6 of 1 and half a dozen of another isn't it. If the products weren't on the market parents wouldn't be buying it and if parents weren't buying it wouldn't be profitable for the manufacturer's to make them. However, are these little children, and these products are made for children as young as 1 so scary and so in control of their parents that all they have to do is have a tantrum and they get what they want? It's about time parents took back the power in their households and started being the grown up responsible members of their household they are supposed to be..and it's quite easy..just say NO then stick in the ear plugs and let them scream and shout all they want. They wont die from it!!! (and yes, I am a parent and funnily mine didn't grow up deprived or damaged because they didn't always have what their friends had, or what was 'trendy' at the time)

  • Comment number 97.

    # 86 Joe

    A good point. However just being a heavy handed parent and saying 'no' is not as black and white as it seems

    A neighbour was very strict/protective with her boys. They went out to play in wellingtons until well into their teens, weren't allowed trainers/sports kits etc. Their lives were made a misery by their peers.

    Regulation would help parents 'strike a balance'. It could help alleviate the huge amount of pressure parents and children are under.

    The two lads in question don't actually visit their mum very often. Both moved out before 18.

    You still have to be an understanding parent, or you run the risk of children going off the rails for being over restricted. In other words, give them something to rebel about, and they certainly will. Any parent can deal with a four year old tantrum, try a fifteen year old out til 4.00am that refuses to say where she's been! And never say 'my child would never...' cos she just might.

  • Comment number 98.

    I finally find myself in agreement with those who think the BBC HYS has decended about as far as possible into a topical opinion version of celebrities in jungles et al.
    Is this the limit of intelligent conversation topic or just the best banal that does not shake "the establishment"? As for the subject matter we are well onto the slippery slope. Children are of course little people not children and therefore self determinate and self aware, then we wonder at the outcome.....Priceless!! That traders & other people need regulating on this fundamental issue says it all I think.

  • Comment number 99.

    A few years ago a friend of mine brought her 7 years old daughter a purse because her daughter liked the bunny on it - the buuny was the symbol of a well known modelling magazine.

    I remember thinking at the time I thought this was a bit risque but my friend was quite shocked I mentioned it as her response was 'its a designer label now'

    I'm not prude at all but this had the alarm bells ringing in my head.

  • Comment number 100.

    32. At 11:12am on 06 Dec 2010, LouisW wrote:

    Can those screaming 'blame the parents' please indicate whether they have, or care for a child, full time

    Conception - doddle

    Pregnancy - doddle

    Squeezing them out - doddle compared to the ensuing 20 years
    ====================================

    I'm not screaming, but I'm one of those who blame the parents; I'm a parent and, very recently, a grandparent.

    Adults are adults and children are children. I've never found it too difficult.

 

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