MU launches campaign to stop exploitation of children through marketing

Friday September 24th 2010

Bye Buy Childhood.Mothers’ Union has launched a campaign to try and cut the levels of marketing aimed at children.

Launching the Bye Buy Childhood campaign, the MU revealed that research the organisation commissioned shows that 80 per cent of UK parents believe media and marketing with sexualized content is too easily accessed by children, and makes them sexually aware too young.

The survey of 1,000 parents was conducted by ComRes, for Mothers’ Union, and revealed that 71 per cent of parents believe the media encourages children to act older than they really want to while 67 per cent believe that inappropriate content is shown on TV before the 9pm watershed.

The MU document, Bye Buy Childhood: A report into the commercialisation of childhood published in September reveals new research into parents’ experiences of the pressures that commercialisation brings to bear on family life, and draws on existing research to demonstrate the negative effects that a consumer-culture has on children’s wellbeing.

Speaking at the campaign launch Rosemary Kempsell, Worldwide President of Mothers’ Union 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.”

Through Bye Buy Childhood Mothers’ Union is calling for change, asking marketing, media and retailers to make a difference to childhood by:
• Not taking advantage of children’s natural inexperience to sell to them
• Not marketing or selling goods of a sexualised nature to children under 16
• Ensuring that children under 16 are not exposed to the marketing and display of sexualised products.

Bye Buy Childhood will tackle the commercialisation of children at every level – from raising awareness to providing support and advice to parents.

“We want to encourage a cultural shift, with new codes of practice put in place so that childhood is both a respected as well as a creative time rather than predominantly a marketing opportunity.” said Fleur Dorrell, Head of Faith & Policy at Mothers’ Union. “Values of good parenting, of belonging and of choosing what brings happiness should not be sold to us as a product or a purchase.”

Full details of the research report, together with campaign resources, can be found at

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