Children exposed to 'inappropriate' TV, parents believe

Children watching TV
Image caption The Mothers' Union says children should be protected from sexualised advertising campaigns

Two-thirds of UK parents believe children are exposed to inappropriate content on television before the watershed, a survey has suggested.

Some 67% of the 1,004 parents of under-18s questioned thought unsuitable content was broadcast prior to 9pm.

A further 80% said they felt films and video games with sexual or violent themes were too easily available.

The poll was conducted last month for the Christian charity, Mothers' Union.

The research also showed most parents think television, films, magazines and the internet make children sexually aware at a younger age than they would be otherwise.

The findings are included in the charity's report Bye Buy Childhood detailing the impact of advertising and marketing on children's happiness.

The charity has called for a ban on marketing or selling goods of a sexualised nature to children under 16.

'Pester power'

The charity also said it was concerned about so-called "peer-to-peer" marketing, in which children are recruited by marketing campaigns on the internet.

Under these schemes, children are encouraged to pass email addresses of friends to advertisers and promote products to other children in the playground, the report said.

Mothers' Union worldwide president Rosemary Kempsell said: "Mothers' Union is concerned at the increasing levels of marketing aimed at children.

"Brands deliberately encourage a culture of 'pester power' or use manipulative techniques such as recruiting young people as conduits for peer-to-peer marketing.

"This is having a far-reaching effect on children's values, and their family life.

"Marketers play on the need that children have to fit in with their friends, to belong. We believe exploiting children for profit is wrong."

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