Mothers’ Union chief to head up review on sexualisation of children

The chief executive of the Christian charity Mothers’ Union has been asked by the Government to chair an independent review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood in Britain.

Reg Bailey’s appointment follows the launch of the Mothers’ Union’s “Bye Buy Childhood” campaign, which voices concern at the sexualised nature of some of the marketing and media aimed at children.

He was quoted by the Press Association as saying: “It’s about the tone and the style of the way things are marketed to children. When you are so bombarded by marketing and sexualised imagery, it almost becomes wallpaper.”

The review has been commissioned by the Minister for Children and Families, Sarah Teather, and follows pledges made by David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the Coalition’s programme to protect children from “excessive commercialisation and premature sexualisation”.

Teather told the BBC that the Government wanted to “better understand not only how we can help parents resist these things, but also how we encourage all businesses to take their responsibilities as seriously as the best ones already do”.

Rosemary Kempsell, worldwide president of Mothers’ Union, welcomed Mr Bailey’s appointment to the commission.

“We are delighted that Reg has been asked to chair this independent review as Mothers’ Union is absolutely committed to seeing children as children, not simply as consumers," she said.

“We have been involved with the welfare of children for many years, but have more recently launched our Bye Buy Childhood campaign in precisely this area because so many parents express their concerns to us.”

A recent campaign report from Mothers’ Union said that around 80 per cent of parents felt media and marketing with sexualised content was too easily accessible by children and that it was making them sexually aware at too young an age.

The Prime Minister was vocal about his opposition to the “inappropriate sexualisation” of children in the run-up to the election.

He has previously hit out at “Lolita beds and padded bras” and admitted restricting his six-year-old daughter Nancy from listening to Lily Allen because of some of the lyrics.

Playboy stationery and children’s T-shirts with sexually suggestive slogans are some of the items that have caused alarm among campaigners.