The use of sexual imagery in goods aimed at children is to be investigated by MSPs.
The Playboy bunny logo on pencil cases and provocative children's T-shirt logos are among items which have prompted extreme concerns on Holyrood's equal opportunities committee. Later this year, the committee will meet retailers, trade
unions, consumer bodies and children's organisations.
The committee is extremely concerned to read reports about the ever-increasing range of goods in stores which contain sexual images and which appear to be directly aimed at children, said the Conservative convener. Margaret Mitchell.
Consumer Focus has applauded WH Smith for ditching Playboy stationery, claiming pornography was becoming a feature of the playground.
Ed Mayo, chief executive of Consumer Focus, spoke out after WH Smith discontinued the pencil cases and folder bearing the famous bunny ears logo.
Mayo said stocking the Playboy items was part of a wider sexualisation of children and represented the continuing loss of youngsters' innocence. It was all part of a warped bombardment of children's lives with adult sexuality which could
lead to mental problems in the young, he said.
In some senses it may seem harmless, but we know the stationery range was purchased by primary and secondary school girls - in other ways it's the tip of the iceberg. We know from research we did that young people like the brand but know it's
connected with pornography and becomes a feature in the playground. One 14-year-old said 'It's posh, makes you feel good but it's pornography'. I am delighted WH Smith have done the right thing.
Mayo also spoke out about the dangers sexualisation of young girls yesterday, warning it triggers 'emotional distress, anxiety, low self-esteem and eating disorders'. Describing the consequences of exposing children to adult sexuality as dire
today, Mayo said: There is a wider exposure of children to things and it's about too much, too young. Early sexualisation on children has a real impact in terms of mental distress.
WH Smith would not be drawn on whether the decision to withdraw the Playboy merchandise was because of pressure. A company spokesman said: We continually review and update our range to offer our customers a wide range of products. Each spring
we renew our range of fashion stationery and as part of this update we have chosen to discontinue the Playboy range.'
Consumer Focus is a government funded statutory organisation, created through the merger of three organisations – energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council which:
establishes a new body to provide a stronger, more coherent consumer advocacy body – Consumer Focus – able to address consumer issues across different sectors, undertake cross-sectoral research, and provide a voice for
consumers in dialogue with companies, regulators, Government and Europe
extends redress schemes to all licensed energy suppliers and postal services providers to resolve complaints where suppliers and service providers have not been able to do so, and provide compensation for consumers where
it is appropriate
enables Consumer Direct to become the single point of contact for all consumers to obtain information and impartial advice as well as signpost consumers and provide them with help when making a complaint. Consumer Direct
is a government-funded telephone and online consumer advice service offering clear, practical and impartial consumer advice (08454 04 05 06). Go to Consumer Direct website
Sounds like a another bunch of good for nothing moralising censors to me