Lesbian kisses could be banned from television screens until the watershed under nutter inspired Government plans to stop children being exposed to supposedly indecent images.
A review launched with the backing of David Cameron is expected to recommend that sexually suggestive scenes currently allowed before the 9pm watershed, such as the famous lesbian embrace on soap opera Brookside, should not be shown until later
in the evening.
The inquiry is being led by Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey.
The Daily Mail said that Bailey is likely to focus on more restrictive watershed rules. A source close to the inquiry said: It is hard to protect children in the internet and mobile-phone age but we have to do something.
Sources also suggested that raunchy dance routines, such as those by pop stars Christina Aguilera and Rihanna on last year's X Factor final, could also fall foul of more censorial watershed rules.
Bailey is also understood to be looking at a ban on sexy advertisements in public places. The source added: Some of those huge poster advertisements for bras and knickers leave precious little to the imagination and they are there for all our
children to see.
Bailey is examining restricting internet pornography by enabling parents to ask ISPs to block adult websites at source rather than relying on parental controls.
Update: Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey is not speaking for the Mothers' Union
Clarification on reports published in print and online 1st and 2nd May 2011.
Mothers' Union explicitly refutes all allegations regarding the banning of lesbian kisses on television before or after the watershed as claimed by the media this week, including in The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers.
The Bailey Review as conducted by the Department of Education is independent of the Mothers' Union's Bye Buy Childhood Campaign and therefore, any recourse to statements against Mothers' Union are unfounded and should be
directed to the Department of Education.
The Mothers' Union's Campaign is gender inclusive and is therefore, neither targeted towards or against any type of relationship and should not be expressed as such.
The government report into sexualisation of childhood is due to be published on Monday. The press seem to have been briefed with advance details as reported in the Guardian.
The report has been commissioned by David Cameron from the biased Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mothers' Union and long-term campaigner against 'premature sexualisation'.
Bailey is likely to give the retail, advertising and video industry 18 months to improve their act voluntarily or face tougher government regulation.
He is also expected to demand some regulatory bodies such as Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority do more to ensure they seek the views of parents on what is acceptable to show to children.
The report is also set to criticise the growth of peer to peer marketing, where companies hire teenagers to sell or promote products in school.
The review has already led bodies such as the ASA and the BPI, responsible for the music industry, to make pre-emptive efforts to show they are aware of the criticism of the way they currently operate. The ASA has promised to set up an advisory
body, as well as regulate advertising on company websites.
The music industry is expected to be told to put some kind of advisory age rating such as films have on music videos. Critics are likely to argue that in practice these music videos go out on TV and parents will unable to stand over their
children and prevent them watching them. Latest figures sent to the Bailey review suggest that half of children have access to TV via their computers in their own bedroom.
Senior figures associated with the review are to claim complacency from some industry bodies.
Bailey is likely to be asked by government to follow through his report to ensure his recommendations are implemented. Ministers are aware that the previous government published three reports into sexualisation of children in various aspects, but
little happened. But Helen Goodman, the shadow justice minister, said: The voluntary approach has been tried and failed. We must have tougher regulations across the media, including social media. Pester power is the pollution of modern
advertising and we should follow the polluter pays principle.
The Daily Mail adds that at the moment advertising rules mean alcohol and fast food adverts are banned from billboards near schools. A source involved in drawing up the plans said that would be extended to cover adverts featuring sexual imagery.
Daily Mail adds details about Reg Bailey's sexualisation report
It seems that all the details are being released in advance presumably to ensure that news is reported as per press releases. By the time we get to read the full report, any criticisms well get lost as the issue will have already become stale
Still suffering from
The Daily Mail adds a few more details (in its typically overwrought style) about Reg Bailey's report:
A report commissioned by the Prime Minister, to be published on Monday, demands an end to the sexualisation of young children.
It will order the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to consult parents about their concerns and report back every year on how it has reinforced taste guidelines.
David Cameron will endorse the proposals of Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mothers' Union, who found parents are deeply concerned that sexual imagery in television, advertising and pop videos is making children grow
up too fast.
Ministers will make clear that they expect changes and the Government is prepared to intervene directly unless the conveyor-belt of smut is toned down.
The report also calls for a hard-hitting crackdown on internet pornography, demanding tighter parental controls over access to explicit websites.
Under the plans, laptops will be sold with parental controls automatically activated and customers will have to request specifically to receive porn -- a reversal of the current position.
Bailey is also demanding a crackdown on lewd lads mags such as Nuts and Zoo, urging retailers to sell the magazines in plain wrappers or put them behind modesty boards which hide their lurid covers from young
Ministers will set up a single website which parents can use to report excessive sexual content on screen, in adverts and where high street stores sell inappropriate clothing to youngsters.
The Bailey Review demands a return to the days when parents could be confident that programmes broadcast before 9pm would be suitable for the whole family.
The report accuses broadcasters of actively working against parents by peddling sexual content. 'Some parents even questioned whether the watershed still exists.'
Bailey warns: The watershed was introduced to protect children and pre-watershed programming should therefore be developed and regulated with a greater weight towards the attitudes and views of parents, rather than
viewers as a whole. Broadcasters and Ofcom should report annually on how they have specifically engaged parents over the previous year, what they have learnt and what they are doing differently as a result. The onus is on broadcasters to show
acceptable content in the first place, not to react to audience complaints after the event.
The report says parents are most concerned by music performances in music and talent shows during family viewing hours which were heavily influenced by the sexualised and gender-steroetyped content of music videos
, making them more raunchy than was appropriate for that type of viewing .
It concludes: The industry needs to act and, in the case of pre-watershed family viewing, take a slightly more cautious approach than is currently the case.
Rag Bailey has now published his hardly independent review on sexualisation and rather reveals his nutter stance by claiming that the world is a nasty place and that in an ideal world, adult entertainment would be shunned by society.
We believe that a truly family-friendly society would not need to erect barriers between age groups to shield the young: it would, instead, uphold and reinforce healthy norms for adults and children alike, so that
excess is recognised for what it is and there is transparency about its consequences.
Bailey's summary reads:
The Review has encountered two very different approaches towards helping children deal with the pressures to grow up too quickly. The first approach seems to suggest that we can try to keep children wholly innocent and
unknowing until they are adults. The world is a nasty place and children should be unsullied by it until they are mature enough to deal with it. This is a view that finds its expression in outrage, for example, that childrenswear departments
stock clothes for young children that appear to be merely scaled-down versions of clothes with an adult sexuality, such as padded bras. It depends on an underlying assumption that children can be easily led astray, so that even glimpses of the
adult world will hurry them into adulthood. Worse still, this approach argues, what children wear or do or say could make them vulnerable to predators or paedophiles.
The second approach is that we should accept the world for what it is and simply give children the tools to understand it and navigate their way through it better. Unlike the first approach, this is coupled with an
assumption that children are not passive receivers of these messages or simple imitators of adults; rather they willingly interact with the commercial and sexualised world and consume what it has to offer. This is a view that says to do anything
more than raise the ability of children to understand the commercial and sexual world around them, and especially their view of it through the various media, is to create a moral panic. The argument suggests that we would infantilise adults if
we make the world more benign for children, so we should adultify children.
This Review concludes that neither approach, although each is understandable, can be effective on its own. We recognise that the issues raised by the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood are rooted in the
character of our wider adult culture and that children need both protection from a range of harms, and knowledge of different kinds, appropriate to their age, understanding and experience. Parents have the primary role here but others have a
responsibility to play an active part too, including businesses, the media and their regulators. Above all, however, we believe that a truly family-friendly society would not need to erect barriers between age groups to shield the young: it
would, instead, uphold and reinforce healthy norms for adults and children alike, so that excess is recognised for what it is and there is transparency about its consequences. The creation of a truly family-friendly society is the aspiration: in
the meantime, we need a different approach.
Reg Bailey's recommendations are:
Ensuring that magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers are not in easy sight of children. Retail associations in the news industry should do more to encourage observance of the voluntary code of
practice on the display of magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers. Publishers and distributors should provide such magazines in modesty sleeves, or make modesty boards available, to all outlets they supply and strongly
encourage the appropriate display of their publications. Retailers should be open and transparent to show that they welcome and will act on customer feedback regarding magazine displays.
Reducing the amount of on-street advertising containing sexualised imagery in locations where children are likely to see it. The advertising industry should take into account the social responsibility clause of the
Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code when considering placement of advertisements with sexualised imagery near schools, in the same way as they already do for alcohol advertisements. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) should
place stronger emphasis on the location of an advertisement, and the number of children likely to be exposed to it, when considering whether an on-street advertisement is compliant with the CAP code.
Ensuring the content of pre-watershed television programming better meets parents' expectations. There are concerns among parents about the content of certain programmes shown before the watershed. The watershed was
introduced to protect children, and pre-watershed programming should therefore be developed and regulated with a greater weight towards the attitudes and views of parents, rather than viewers as a whole. In addition, broadcasters should
involve parents on an ongoing basis in testing the standards by which family viewing on television is assessed and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) should extend its existing research into the views of parents on the watershed. Broadcasters
and Ofcom should report annually on how they have specifically engaged parents over the previous year, what they have learnt and what they are doing differently as a result.
Introducing Age Rating for Music Videos. Government should consult as a matter of priority on whether music videos should continue to be treated differently from other genres, and whether the exemption from the Video
Recordings Act 1984 and 2010, which allows them to be sold without a rating or certificate, should be removed. As well as ensuring hard copy sales are only made on an age-appropriate basis, removal of the exemption would assist broadcasters and
internet companies in ensuring that the content is made available responsibly.
Making it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material from the internet: To provide a consistent level of protection across all media, as a matter of urgency, the internet industry should ensure that
customers must make an active choice over what sort of content they want to allow their children to access. To facilitate this, the internet industry must act decisively to develop and introduce effective parental controls, with Government
regulation if voluntary action is not forthcoming within a reasonable timescale. In addition, those providing content which is age-restricted, whether by law or company policy, should seek robust means of age verification as well as making it
easy for parents to block underage access.
Developing a retail code of good practice on retailing to children. Retailers, alongside their trade associations, should develop and comply with a voluntary code of good practice for all aspects of retailing to children.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) should continue its work in this area as a matter of urgency and encourage non-BRC members to sign up to its code.
Ensuring that the regulation of advertising reflects more closely parents' and children's views. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) should conduct research with parents and children on a regular basis in order to
gauge their views on the ASA's approach to regulation and on the ASA's decisions, publishing the results and subsequent action taken in their annual report.
Prohibiting the employment of children as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing. The Committee of Advertising Practice and other advertising and marketing bodies should urgently explore whether, as many parents
believe, the advertising self- regulatory codes should prohibit the employment of children under the age of 16 as brand ambassadors or in peer-to-peer marketing – where people are paid, or paid in kind, to promote products, brands or services.
Defining a child as under the age of 16 in all types of advertising regulation. The ASA should conduct research with parents, children and young people to determine whether the ASA should always define a child as a person
under the age of 16, in line with the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice codes.
Raising parental awareness of marketing and advertising techniques. Industry and regulators should work together to improve parental awareness of marketing and advertising techniques and of advertising regulation and
complaints processes and to promote industry best practice.
Quality assurance for media and commercial literacy resources and education for children. These resources should always include education to help children develop their emotional resilience to the commercial and sexual
pressures that today's world places on them. Providers should commission independent evaluation of their provision, not solely measuring take-up but, crucially, to assess its effectiveness. Those bodies with responsibilities for promoting media
literacy, including Ofcom and the BBC, should encourage the development of minimum standards guidance for the content of media and commercial literacy education and resources to children.
Ensuring greater transparency in the regulatory framework by creating a single website for regulators. There is a variety of co-, self- and statutory regulators across the media, communications and retail industries.
Regulators should work together to create a single website to act as an interface between themselves and parents. This will set out simply and clearly what parents can do if they feel a programme, advertisement, product or service is
inappropriate for their children; explain the legislation in simple terms; and provide links to quick and easy complaints forms on regulators' own individual websites. This single website could also provide a way for parents to provide informal
feedback and comments, with an option to do so anonymously, which regulators can use as an extra gauge of parental views. Results of regulators' decisions, and their reactions to any informal feedback, should be published regularly on the
Making it easier for parents to express their views to businesses about goods and services. All businesses that market goods or services to children should have a one-click link to their complaints service from their home
page, clearly labelled complaints . Information provided as part of the complaints and feedback process should state explicitly that the business welcomes comments and complaints from parents about issues affecting children. Businesses
should also provide timely feedback to customers in reaction to customer comment. For retail businesses this should form part of their code of good practice (see Recommendation 6), and should also cover how to make it.
Ensuring that businesses and others take action on these recommendations. Government should take stock of progress against the recommendations of this review in 18 months' time. This stocktake should report on the success
or otherwise of businesses and others in adopting these recommendations. If it concludes that insufficient progress has been made, the Government should consider taking the most effective action available, including regulating through
legislation if necessary, to achieve the recommended outcome.
David Cameron has backed demands to introduce wide-ranging changes to supposedly prevent the sexualisation of children.
Cameron said the Reg Bailey report represented a giant step forward for protecting childhood and making Britain more family-friendly .
In a letter to Bailey, the Prime Minister supported his proposals to ban raunchy billboard ads near schools and to forbid celebrities under 16 from marketing products aimed at children.
He also welcomed plans to make it easier for parents to block explicit material on laptops and mobile phones by ensuring such devices are issued with anti-pornography controls turned on by default.
And he revealed that he will grill companies and regulators at a Downing Street summit in October on the progress they have made to stamp out child access to adult material.In another victory today for the campaign, major retailers will sign a
new code of conduct banning the sale of padded bras and other adult-themed clothes to young girls.
In his letter, Cameron said he was particularly keen to see rapid progress on a single website for parents to report inappropriate images, products and services. This not only seems entirely sensible, but also relatively easy and simple to
introduce. I see no reason why the website cannot be up and running in good time to get feedback from parents for our October meeting.
Cameron said October's meeting will check what retailers, advertisers, broadcasters, magazine editors, video games manufacturers, music producers, internet and phone companies and regulators' have done to act on your specific recommendations
The media and advertising industries are taking a relaxed view of government-backed plans to clamp down on sexualised imagery such as raunchy music videos and scenes on TV shows, inappropriate ad campaigns and a call for
tougher internet controls for parents.
For the industry, the threat of legislation has receded. Cameron has on numerous occasions voiced his concerns about the role of the media and advertising in the commercialisation of childhood, but the Bailey report's
recommendations call for voluntary regulation.
On Monday, Cameron called for a summit in October -- an industry-wide meeting of retailers, advertisers, broadcasters, magazine editors, video games and music industry chiefs and regulators -- to gauge progress with
the ultimate threat of legislation in 18 months if tighter voluntary controls are not implemented.
However, the media and advertising industries are confident they can deliver what has been asked.
Among the recommendations contained in the Bailey review, looking at the sexualisation of children, was that publishers and distributors provide modesty sleeves for lads' mags or make modesty boards available to all outlets they supply.
John Lennon, the managing director of the Association of News Retailing, agreed with the report's recommendations but said the cost should not be met by the retailer: It's a good idea for retailers that are too small to put these magazines out
of the eye-level of children, but I hope these [modesty sleeves] would be supplied by the publishers and not by the retailers, he said.
The Bailey report also criticised newspapers for the use of sexualised front covers , but Lennon said this was not a major issues for retailers.
Newspapers are not included in the industry-wide voluntary code of conduct and Lennon said he did not expect this to change, adding: It's never really been an issue. We've had or two complaints from church groups but that's really about it.
One thing that stands out in reading the Bailey review is that the way in which the results are interpreted is very leading. For instance, on the question of advertising in public spaces, the reviews claims that 40% of
parent respondents had seen something they regarded as inappropriate or offensive.
Clearly, context is missing: the distinction between whether offensive adverts were seen once ever, or every day, is not made. And of course, it would be just as easy to present the statistic the other way round, and get a
different interpretation entirely. 60% of parents had not seen anything they regarded as offensive in public advertising.
I'd like to discuss the evidence base which underpins the report's main findings...
Well that was short and sweet, wasn't it?
The simple fact is that there is no evidence base behind the reports main findings. There are few moderately interesting references, pretty much all of which are dealt with in an entirely cursory manner, but otherwise
there's no substantive discussion of the existing evidence base and the report makes no effort whatsoever to gather any new empirical evidence whatsoever. There's a bit of data from a poorly conceived/constructed questionnaire which falls short
of push-polling only for lack of competence on the part of its designer(s) and feedback from focus groups which, in research terms, is the next best thing to worthless...
Recently, I happened to mention to a senior politician and a long-serving TV executive scenes of drunken sex in the programme Geordie Shore, a variant of Big Brother in which eight young people from the north-east share a
house and are encouraged to jump on each other, an outcome accelerated by the provision of a fridge filled with booze, a hot-tub and a so-called shag-pad .
Good God, what channel is that on and at what time? was the response from both of the people I told. But that reaction is, as they say, so last century. Although notionally screened at 10pm on MTV -- a suitably late
slot in both Ofcom and Cameron/Bailey terms -- it is one of the shows most often down-loaded on sites such as iTunes.
Although these portals require buyers to tick a box acknowledging that they are over the age of 18, this defence depends entirely on honest self-declaration. Most parents of teenagers will tell you that Geordie Shore and
many other post-watershed shows are being watched on computers and mobile phones at all times of day by viewers well under the age of 18.
The Cameron/Bailey emphasis on broadcasting border patrol fails to acknowledge that time and place are becoming ever more irrelevant to television viewing.
Sexy performances on shows such as The X Factor will be outlawed by further restrictions to pre-watershed TV.
The TV censor Ofcom will issue new censorship rule to apply to autumn schedules.
The move follows a Government report on the sexualisation of children and nutter protests.
An Ofcom spokesman said: The guidelines will be there to make sure that broadcasters like ITV don't hover near the boundaries of harmful content to children. This is what happened with Rihanna's performance on the show last year, where the
broadcasting code was almost breached.
Too many parents either willingly encourage or turn a blind eye to their children signing up to Facebook, watching adult films or wearing inappropriate clothing, claimed Reg Bailey, the author of Letting Children be Children . His over
exaggerated report is the inevitable result of letting nutter campaigners free reign to conjure up nonsense to support the case against sexualisation.
The report was well received by fellow nutter campaigners but unsurprisingly it hasn't had the immediate impact on real life that perhaps he was hoping.
Bailey, speaking to The Daily Telegraph, said that parents were too often complicit in the unthinking drift towards ever greater commercialisation and sexualisation of children. He said: I was alarmed at the number of parents who
were complicit in buying 18-rated video games for their children.
One father said it was OK that he played Grand Theft Auto with his 13-year-old son because it helped them bond together. He added that there must be easier ways of bonding with a child than playing a game that allowed gangsters
to run over prostitutes .
He was speaking as further evidence suggested that hundreds of thousands of young children are on Facebook, the social networking site, which has rules in place to stop those under the age of 13 signing up.
Karen Fraser, the director of Credos, a think tank which advises the advertising industry, said that in a series of focus groups earlier this month she had discovered that 80 to 90% of those under 13 were signed up to Facebook: Parents
have told us they don't want their children to miss out. They don't want them to restrict their social life.
Bailey said parents needed to address the number of under-13s on Facebook and the numbers of youngsters playing adult video games. I am concerned any parent would ignore these age restrictions. They are there for a reason. He added that he
had spoken to retailers that had reported that shop staff had been assaulted by parents who had been challenged when trying to buy an 18-rated DVD for their children, who were with them: That is an appalling situation, but it is a function of
The government's review of the premature sexualisation of young people could make matters worse, exacerbating the very problem it is supposed to tackle.
That was the unanimous view of a group of experts in this field, whose letter setting out their concerns was published yesterday in the Times Higher Education Supplement.
They criticise the review on three key grounds:
it will make it harder for young people to speak about sex, so increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and unwanted sex;
by making girls' sexuality -- and female modesty -- a key issue, the review is adding yet further to the pressures to conform on young girls: although if the report is to be believed, it is those pressures that are already causing significant
harm to girls;
the review appears to have taken little account of existing research: it has ignored areas where real risks to young people has been previously identified (health, housing, poverty and education) and focuses instead on an area -- sexualisation
-- which is poorly defined and for which it fails to provide any meaningful measures.
Above all, those critical of the report point out, many academics and researchers with a known track record in this area offered their services to the government in respect of the Bailey Review -- and were turned down. It is their hope that in
future, government will be better prepared to listen.
Denis MacShane made a name for himself by spouting bollox about trafficking to the UK, quoting ludicrously overhyped estimates as to the extent of the problem.
Predictably he has now come out in favour of internet blocking and has urged Ministers to launch a 'crackdown' on children's access to hardcore internet porn which he said destroys childhood.
MacShane said that he wanted to see restrictions on how adult content can be accessed on computers and smartphones used by children. He has joined other MPs in calling on BT, Sky, Virgin, TalkTalk and Orange to make it impossible to access
hard-core porn unless the user completes a screening process to confirm their age.
MacShane, always quick to believe any old bollox, said: At meetings with the communications minister Ed Vaizey, we heard reports that children in primary school were watching on average eight minutes of hard-core porn a week. This
sexualisation of children destroys childhood and encourages a degrading image of girls and women as the sex objects of males.
Comment: Control Freaks
When will people learn that it is for parents to prevent kids watching smut, if necessary by putting the computer in the living room.
Just a bunch of fucking liars and control freaks the lot of 'em. Labour and Conservative. I want none of the above putting on ballot forms, and the number of people voting for that on public record.
One in five eight-year-olds has seen nude images while surfing the internet, according to Baroness Floella Benjamin, the Liberal Democrat peer and former children's television presenter.
Lady Benjamin said children needed protection from exposure to harmful content. She called on Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, to introduce new safeguards.
In a recent survey, 20 per cent of eight-year-olds said that they had seen nudity online, Lady Benjamin told peers during a House of Lords debate.
She asked Baroness Rawlings, the Tory spokeswoman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport:
Are you aware that on the most popular websites children are exposed to advertising of an adult nature and are invited to explore links to very explicit websites?
If so, will the Government consider encouraging Ofcom to take further measures to protect children and young people being targeted in this way by putting in place simple and practical steps so that online media owners can
take action to prevent clear-cut examples of inappropriate content appearing in places where children are likely to see them?
Few politicians, churchy types or moralists are bold enough to criticize adult sexual behaviour today. Instead, childhood and consumer culture provides a more legitimate site of anxiety and opprobrium. Those who are worrying about the
moral development of little girls are actually worried about the moral degeneracy of adult society, but dare not direct their criticism at adults, retreating instead to what they sense is the more consensual terrain of concern for the welfare of
the next generation.
What concerned commentators fail to recognize is that, far from there being an anything goes attitude when it comes to children's bodies and behavior, we are in fact profoundly uncomfortable with children's physical presence and their
latent or nascent sexuality, as anyone who works with children and has been trained in no-touch rules will tell you. Little girls' bodies, how they move them and how they are covered, have thus become the official object of government
concern and public scrutiny.
The government has set up a website for parents, guardians and carers to either complain about something they see as inappropriate for children, or else just to pass on their opinions.
parentport.org.uk website points out that it is only for parents, guardians and carers, so it will inevitably be one sided ,and now doubt pander to those who shout loudest about the easiest offence.
Complaints to ParentPort will be allocated to the appropriate censors who are taking part, namely:
Press Complaints Commission
David Cameron in a press release said:
Parents will be able to report products, television programmes or other services which promote images of a sexual or risque nature to young children to a new whistleblowing website
The move also comes as the four big ISPs reveal that they will in future offer customers an active choice, at the point of purchase, of blocking adult content. Subscribers to BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin who do not opt in will have
no access to internet porn. There is no mention of the specifications of what will be blocked yet.
Advertising near schools will also be more restricted. Billboards which show sexy images will be banned from close proximity to schools.
There will also be attempt to stop brand ambassadors with ministers saying that they are determined to try and halt the way social media can get to young impressionable children. Apparently some big companies, in the wake of crackdowns on
traditional advertising of certain products to children, have turned to paying children small sums to promote sugary soft drinks and other products through social networking sites and playground chat.
And if this is not enough, as it surely won't be, Cameron is expected to warn that he is prepared to act if companies do not do more to halt the sexualisation of children.
There is an upcoming meeting of the Westminster Media Forum where a battalion of sexualisation nutters will have a chance to bully those that may still hold the notion that adults should be free to enjoy life.
The event is set for Tuesday, 18th October 2011 at the venue Sixty One in Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET.
The Westminster Forum website describes the event:
This timely seminar will bring together representatives from across retail, parent and consumer groups, education providers and the media in an impartial setting to discuss the next steps for policy and best practice.
The event will offer an opportunity to discuss the Bailey Review's recommendations, with sessions examining the prospects for a voluntary retail code of good practice, the next steps for child internet safety, including
empowering parents to block adult and age-restricted services, and the options for strengthening the ASA to protect young people from excessive commercialisation. Delegates will also examine the lessons learned and the unintended consequences 5
years on from the ban on the marketing to children of food high in fat, salt and sugar.
We are delighted to include keynote addresses from:
Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England
Reg Bailey, Chief Executive, Mothers' Union and Author, Letting Children Be Children: the Report of an Independent Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood
Sue Eustace, Director of Public Affairs, Advertising Association
Dr Agnes Nairn, Professor of Marketing, EM-Lyon Business School.
Further speakers include:
Mike Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Outdoor Media Centre;
Jane Bevis, Director of Public Affairs, British Retail Consortium;
John Carr OBE, Secretary, UK Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety;
Tony Close, Director of Standards, Content, International and Regulatory Development Group, Ofcom;
Dido Harding, Chief Executive Officer, TalkTalk;
Anna Home OBE, Chair, The Children's Media Foundation
Katie O'Donovan, Head of Communications, Mumsnet;
Dr Clarissa Smith, Reader in Sexual Cultures, University of Sunderland
Lynsay Taffe, Director of Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs, Advertising Standards Authority.
Chairing this event:
Baroness Massey of Darwen, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children
Claire Perry MP, Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Child Protection
Advertising censors at the ASA have provided examples of new rules to pander to those blaming all of society's ills on sexy images in the media.
Suitable for all outdoor locations.
Images that are not sexual, or no more than mildly sexual
Example. The model is wearing a bikini and holding a pose which is unlikely to be considered to be sexually suggestive. Images in outdoor ads similar to these are likely to remain acceptable on the basis that they are no more than mildly
Suitable for outdoor locations but not near schools
Images that are sexually suggestive
The woman is shown with her legs astride, drawing attention to her groin area.
Such images in ads might be acceptable in some locations but are likely to require a placement restriction, preventing them from being placed in locations of particular relevance to children.
Unacceptable for outdoor advertising
Overtly sexual images
Some advertisements may not be suitable for general outdoor display, irrespective of a placement restriction. The woman in lingerie pulls down the side of her knickers and bra strap in an overtly sexual and seductive way.
Advertisers should be particularly cautious about the imagery they use to advertise gentlemen's clubs or sex shops because the ASA consider that the public responds differently to those images in light of the product or service offered rather
than the content of the advert.
The ASA also list some of the characteristics that may be sexually suggestive or overtly sexual:
Poses suggestive of a sexual position: the parting of the legs, accentuation of the hip etc.
Amorous or sexually passionate facial expressions
Exposure of breasts, including partial
Poses such as hands on the hips, gripping of hair in conjunction with a sexually suggestive facial expression
Images of touching oneself in a sexual manner, such as stroking the legs or holding/gripping the breasts
Suggestion in facial or bodily expression of an orgasm
Images of suggestive undressing, such as pulling down a bra strap or knickers
Ads which draw undue attention to body parts, such as breasts or buttocks, in a sexual way
Ads which show people in poses emulating a sexual position or alluding to sexual activity
Overtly sexual lingerie such as stockings, suspenders or paraphernalia such as whips and chains.
Miserable new advertising rules have been revealed to further restrict public billboard adverts.
Some sexy advertising hoardings will be banned from public display altogether, while any put up within 100 yards of schools will have to pass even stricter new codes designed to remove supposedly sexualised imagery.
The move means clothing and perfume companies particularly face further restrictions on how they promote their products in the new guidelines from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The move comes ahead of a Downing Street summit this week between David Cameron and sexualisation campaigners. Banning sexy billboard adverts near schools was one of a number of recommendations made in May this year following a
Government-commissioned review by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union.
Billboards will still be allowed to carry posters of models wearing bikinis, they will not be allowed to show them in poses that are deemed to be sexually suggestive. This will cover everything from images of stockings and suspenders to poses
where the legs are parted or even hands are placed on hips.
Posters which show sexually suggestive pictures will be subject to placement restriction , and the guidelines warn this could include images where a couple are fully clothed, but in a passionate clinch . Overtly sexual
images will not be acceptable for any use in public. This could include ads which draw undue attention to body parts, such as breasts or buttocks, in a sexual way , the ASA warns.
Bailey, claimed the move was a crucial step in trying to reduce children's exposure to indecent images and curbing the rise in consumerism:
Now more than ever we need to look at ourselves as a society and at all the things that give value to our lives. What we are seeing is that companies are concentrating their energies on working together to change industry practices and
ultimately create a more family friendly society. I hope this is the start of getting children to see themselves as rounded human beings rather than just as consumers.
A spokesman for the Advertising Association said:
All advertising has to take account of what society thinks is decent. We're giving the recommendations our full support.
Update: UK ASA now more prudish than South Africa ASA
Commenting on the ASA UK statement, Gail Schimmel, director of Clear Copy, a South African marketing regulation advisory service, said:
The South African ASA has been fairly permissive in the imagery that it allows on outdoor advertising. It will be interesting to see if a change in the international approach has any effect on how the local ASA considers these matters.
She adds that certain images identified by the UK ASA as unacceptable are images that the South African ASA would allow. I would be sorry to see a move towards an overly conservative approach, but we also have to remain in touch with
the acceptable norms of the rest of the world.
Letting youngsters dress up in mini-me sexy clothing is a sign of our society's eroded moral values, according to Dr Helen Wright.
Treating girls in this way is intensely wrong , according to Wright , who is head nutter of the Girls' Schools Association.
But she reckons that parents who don't follow her particular brand of miserable morality are not entirely to blame. [There's also Rihanna's performance on X-Factor to blame].
Wright reckons that parents themselves have been failed by a poor education, lacking in the teaching of moral standards, so they are unable to see that 'sexy' is wrong.
Wright pre-empted her speech, set for today's GSA conference, in a press release. She will say:
There are all these images in magazines and TV -- if you're bombarded with that, you're going to think it's normal, and actually it's not. It's becoming twisted.
Some parents have been so deprived in their own lives of education and values that they no longer know right from wrong, and that they are, as a result, unwittingly 'indulging' children in some parallel universe where it is acceptable to let
young children wear make-up and provocative clothing.
If parents can't see anything wrong in dressing up their children in 'Future WAG' T-shirts and letting them wear make-up, high heels and mini-me sexy clothing, then something is intensely wrong in our society'
I have no doubt that these are the parents who have been failed by the education system themselves. They have grown up without any respect for their elders or any idea of how to bring up a child.
London MP Diane Abbott has attacked the pornification of popular culture which she says is to blame for high rates of under-age sex among girls.
More than one in four young women first have sex below the age of 16, a greater proportion than previous generations, according to a NHS health survey.
The rising numbers of girls having under-age sex is alarming. It is not a cost-free phenomenon. It poses public health policy challenges and social challenges.
The underlying cause must be the 'pornification' of the culture and the increasing sexualisation of pre-adolescent girls. Too many young girls are absorbing from the popular culture around them that they only have value as sex objects.
Inevitably they act this notion out.
Government must improve education in schools for both girls and boys, the shadow health minister insisted. But she dismissed as pointless abstinence drives similar to that mooted by Tory MP Nadine Dorris.
Businesses have been warned that they face new rules to tackle what the Prime Minister has described as the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.
The Prime Minister will hold meetings early in the new year with retailers and advertisers to put a spotlight on their conduct, whatever that means. If voluntary codes of conduct fail to do enough to protect children, ministers are
threatening to legislate and impose new laws.
In a letter to business leaders inviting them to meet the Prime Minister, Sarah Teather, the children's minister, warned that companies must demonstrate the real difference they are making for families . She said: The Prime Minister and
I will expect to see concrete progress and for this to feel real and meaningful to parents and children.
The letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, sets out a detailed list of reforms that ministers want to see introduced over the next 10 months, including:
Children under the age of 16 must not be used as brand ambassadors or in peer to peer marketing campaigns. A voluntary ban is already under way but Teather said: The industry needs to do further work to ensure that this is
A nationwide ban on outdoor advertising that uses sexualised images . A voluntary ban already exists on advertising near schools but ministers want firms to go further. Teather suggested a ban on outdoor advertisements using sexualised
images could be required. She said: Children go to more places than just their school and see advertising everywhere they go. If an advertisement is not acceptable close to a school, is it acceptable anywhere?
So-called lads' magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers must not be in easy view of children in shops. A code of practice already exists for newsagents and retailers. However, application of the code is very
patchy and there are many shops, including many well-known high street names where these magazines and newspapers are very clearly visible to children, Teather said: There is no reason these magazines could not be sold bagged or shelved
behind modesty boards provided by publishers and wholesalers and we expect to see a great deal of progress on this issue.
Age ratings for music videos could be introduced as a result of a Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation. [This may be interesting, the government may find that most of the supposedly child devasting Rihanna videos may turn out to
be no more than 12 rated, with even the most sexy being 15 rated rather than the assumed 18].
Sex makes one generation fearful for the next. It has always been so. And in each generation, there are always those who consider the more risque edges of the entertainment industry to be going too far. In 1890s Paris, onlookers took against the
frills and suspenders of can-can dancers. By the 1950s, its Crazy Horse cabaret was making witty mockery of such shows, while itself leaving little to the audience's imagination. At the same time in Britain, nudes posing in tableaux at the
Windmill Theatre were still not permitted to move.
Now I find myself caught up in concerns about the sexualisation of children today. This week, I was quoted as condemning outright Lady Gaga and other performers for seeming obsessed with appearing at their raunchiest in their pop videos and on
prime-time television shows. So have I changed sides? Or has the world changed?
ASA: likely to cause serious or widespread offence The people:. Eye-catching, harmless, light-hearted,
funny and suitable for the product
Credos which styles itself as an advertising think tank has published a report for the trade group, the Outdoor Media Centre examining the public offensiveness of some of the more controversial outdoor advertising campaigns.
The report, Public Attitudes Towards Outdoor Advertising , found that outdoor advertising is bottom on the list of offensive advert formats that the public are exposed to, with the internet; rap music; music videos; computer games and TV
all being rated higher.
Credos asked 1051 GB adults aged 16-64 what they thought of twelve outdoor ads, four of which were banned by the ASA, with the other eight having received complaints.
It was found that while some ads provoked a strong emotional reaction, the public are generally unlikely to consider an advert so offensive that they would complain about it.
Respondents were asked to choose key words to describe each ad, out of the following list: funny, light-hearted, suitable for the product, harmless, depends on location and eye-catching. Harmless was the word used most often.
The perfect 10 ad for a gentlemen's club was found to be the ad which offended the most people, (31% of all adults) with inappropriate, vulgar, rude, eye-catching and sexist the top five words used to describe it.
It is understood the Prime Minister is considering new rules that would oblige websites hosting such videos to introduce robust age verification systems similar to those used to safeguard children online gambling.
Music videos are currently exempt from BBFC censorship under the Video Recordings Act 2010. There are currently no legal restrictions on children downloading music videos of any kind.
The Prime Minister is understood to be disappointed with the music video industry's response to a Government report that whinged about sexualisation of childhood.
Cameron is to summon leading figures in the music video and social media world to Downing Street for a summit next month and threaten censorial new laws if more is not done to protect children.
Campaigners claim there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of sexual content and explicit language in music videos which can be accessed by very young children on computers and mobile phones.
Around 200 million videos are watched each month on Vevo, a music video website popular amongst the young. Although MTV, and other television channels, censor sexual content before the 9pm watershed the same is impractical for video-sharing
Music videos were singled out for strong criticism in Let Children be Children, a Downing Street commissioned report written by anti-sexualisation campaigner Reg Bailey, head of the Mothers Union, a Church of England campaign group.
The government also remains 'concerned' by the style and promotion of so-called Lads' mags , such as Loaded, FHM and Nuts. This industry is also set to be called in to Downing Street over the summer to be asked what steps they are
taking to protect children.
There is likely to be strong opposition to Government restrictions on accessing music videos online. Rio Caraeff, the chief executive of Vevo, has said that age ratings are unnecessary and would be difficult to enforce. Vevo has claimed the move
would be bad for business and would cut the royalties earned by some acts.
Campaigners from a group called Family Lives are claiming that parents and schools are failing to keep track with new trends in technology which are putting young people in danger not just from strangers but also their own peers.
An often-ignored culture of hypermasculinity among boys is increasingly encouraging the view that violence against girls is acceptable or that scantily clad women deserve to be raped, it spews. [what sort of bollox language is
'increasingly encouraging the view'? Their contention is patently not true and speaking vague bollox about rate of change of trends proves nothing beyond the fact that that the nutters have no evidence on which to base their opinions].
Only a fraction of parents have spoken to their children about the dangers of digital sexual abuse, the nutters add. The Family Lives report warns that the previous emphasis on girls 'could' be obscuring dangerous new 'trends' among boys, with an
emphasis on violence against other children.
The report continues saying that, although it is extremely rare, and there no is actual evidence of it, sexual violence 'could' be a growing problem:
There is a great lack of accurate and up-to-date information on the prevalence of youth sexual violence, especially upon younger age groups; hence it is easy to simply dismiss the issue as extremely rare.
However, from our work ... we know that this is a growing problem and as more cases of early sexual violence appear and throw light on the problem of peer-on-peer abuse, it is important to highlight this seldom discussed problem and work towards
measures to tackle it.
Claire Walker, head of policy at Family Lives, said of the lack of evidence of the group's contentions:
The scale of this is just not clear.
The Government needs to commission some pretty solid research that looks at what is the extent.
We know that hypermasculinity seems to be on the increase and one of the traits of it is peer-on-peer violence but all the evidence about hypermasculinity at the moment comes from America.
The Welsh branch of the Mother's Union is set to launch a campaign for further TV censorship targeting supposedly unsuitable pre-watershed programmes.
Parents are being asked to lobby TV censor Ofcom by sending bilingual postcards complaining about the sexualised content and swearing on television and radio programmes that young children watch or listen to.
The campaign, being launched at the Senedd, is part of the Mothers' Union's UK-wide campaign called Bye Buy Childhood . Sheila Jones, a social policy officer for the charity said:
Having gone around Wales talking to people about the Bye Buy Childhood campaign, we met lots of people who were appalled at the amount of material on television before 9pm which they felt was inappropriate for children.
They were unhappy with suggestive moves and songs in staged dances, for example, the dress code of some young presenters and the amount of bad language. Many of them were people who would not naturally go online to voice their concerns so we
thought that a bilingual postcard they could fill in would be the most effective way for them to protest.
Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch-UK, commended the campaign and said many of the sexualised messages sent to our children were very subtle:
I recently complained to Ofcom about the latest series of X Factor, which my primary school-aged daughter watches before the 9pm watershed. It had a stripper on there with a lime green thong and a fishnet bodystocking on top.
She did a very provocative dance and a lap-dance on Louis Walsh. This didn't need to be broadcast. I feel there is a really subtle effect teaching our children that trying to make it to be successful or famous is to take your clothes off.
There were similar issues with half naked performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera on the same show a few years ago. Ofcom didn't regulate and said it was 'right at the margins of acceptability.'
By failing to regulate that margin has become quite mainstream and the boundaries keep being pushed.
More than 10,000 postcards will be distributed to members of the Mothers' Union in Wales to start the campaign.
The Mail on Sunday has seen a top-level internal memo saying that the United Kingdom Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) can be scaled back . Sources suggest that ministers would halve the number of civil servants involved.
UKCCIS was set up in 2008 under New Labour charged with bringing together government departments, law enforcement agencies, academia, private industry and third-sector representatives such as charities and voluntary groups to collaborate on
strategies to ensure child internet safety.
Department for Education sources said UKCCIS was still working on internet safety, but parts of the project had come to a natural conclusion. The Department refused to comment on the leak.
Gender extremists seem to be targeting an extension the Dangerous Pictures Act to include images of simulated rape (as per the Scottish version). Interesting when discussing the concept of 'educating' children about pornography it is taken as
read that the 'education' will be moralising propaganda against porn. It never seems to be discussed what such 'education' should entail.
Responding to the publication of a new report by the Office of the Children's Commissioner on young people and pornography, Holly Dustin, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition & Fiona Elvines of Rape Crisis South London said:
There should be concern at the highest levels of government that boys are accessing violent and sadistic pornography, and that it is influencing their behaviour and attitudes. Sexual violence towards women and girls is rarely out of the
headlines and we know from our own research that sexual harassment and unwanted sexual touching is commonplace amongst young people. This does not happen in a vacuum, rather our sexist culture and media provides a conducive context for abuse to
This report provides further strong evidence of the need for schools to be required to teach young people about sexual consent, and how to deal with pornographic and violent imagery they see online, in music videos, adverts or elsewhere.
Furthermore, we believe that the government must look at legislation on extreme pornography and close a loophole that allows the lawful possession of simulated images of rape pornography, similar to that viewed by Stuart Hazell.
The Office of the Children's Commissioner for England is calling for urgent action to develop children's resilience to pornography following a research report it commissioned which found that: a significant number of children access
pornography; it influences their attitudes towards relationships and sex; it is linked to risky behaviour such as having sex at a younger age; and there is a correlation between holding violent attitudes and accessing more violent media.
The report published today by the Office of the Children's Commissioner, Basically... porn is everywhere: A Rapid Evidence Assessment on the Effects that Access and Exposure to Pornography has on Children and Young People also found that:
Children and young people's exposure and access to pornography occurs both on and offline but in recent years the most common method of access is via internet enabled technology Exposure and access to pornography increases with age Accidental
exposure to pornography is more prevalent than deliberate access There are gender differences in exposure and access to pornography with boys more likely to be exposed to and deliberately access, seek or use pornography than girls.
It concludes that there are still many unanswered questions about the affect exposure to pornography has on children: a situation the Office of the Children's Commissioner considers requires urgent action in an age where extreme violent and
sadistic imagery is two clicks away.
The report is based on a review of published evidence led by Middlesex University in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire, Canterbury Christ Church University and University of Kent, supplemented by a focus group of young people. The
researchers identified 41,000 items of academic literature about pornography undertaking an in-depth analysis of 276 to draw its conclusions.
The report welcomes the work being done by Claire Perry, MP on internet controls, in her role as advisor to the Prime Minister. It makes a series of recommendations in addition to carrying out further research as follows:
The Department for Education should ensure that all schools understand the importance of, and deliver, effective relationship and sex education which must include safe use of the internet. A strong and unambiguous message to this effect should
be sent to all education providers including: all state funded schools including academies; maintained schools; independent schools; faith schools; and further education colleges.
The Department for Education should ensure curriculum content on relationships and sex education covers access and exposure to pornography, and sexual practices that are relevant to young people's lives and experiences, as a means of building
young people's resilience. This is sensitive, specialist work that must be undertaken by suitably qualified professionals, for example, specialist teachers, youth workers or sexual health practitioners.
The Department for Education should rename sex and relationship education (SRE) to relationship and sex education (RSE) to place emphasis on the importance of developing healthy, positive, respectful relationships.
The Government, in partnership with internet service providers, should embark on a national awareness-raising campaign, underpinned by further research, to better inform parents, professionals and the public at large about the content of
pornography and young people's access of, and exposure to such content. This should include a message to parents about their responsibilities affording both children and young people greater protection and generating a wider debate about the
nature of pornography in the 21st century and its potential impact.
Through the commitments made to better protect girls and young women from gender-based violence in the ending violence against women and girls action plan, the Home Office and the Department for Education should commission further research into
the safeguarding implications of exposure and/or access to pornography on children and young people, particularly in relation to their experiences of teenage relationship abuse and peer exploitation.
The Home Office should incorporate the findings of this report into the ongoing teen abuse campaign. Future activity on this workstream should reflect young people's exposure to violent sexualised imagery within their peer groups and
The Youth Justice Board should include questions on exposure and access to pornography within the revised ASSET assessment tool, to better inform understanding of possible associations with attitudes and behaviour and improve the targeting of
interventions for young people displaying violent, or sexually harmful, behaviours.
The Guardian introduces an article from Zoe Williams:
The pornification of Britain's high streets: why enough is enough
Magazines with naked women on the cover sit next to kids' comics in newsagents. Scantily clad models are draped across the nation's billboards. We asked readers to send photos showing how sexual images have invaded the high street
Of course the reality is that the advert censor has been banning anything remotely sexy on billboards and the Guardian gender extremists have scoured the country for probably one example that has escaped the clutches of the censors is in a shop
window rather than a billboard anyway.
And then of course there is the fundamental issue that society seems to be surviving pretty well with crime generally on the decrease. Definitely infinitely better than any society that lets bullies and moralists censor the very existence of
sexuality from society.
Comment: When Right-Wing Conservatives Approve Of Something In The Guardian You Know There's Something Wrong
This is yet more evidence of how The Guardian is turning into the Daily Mail when it comes to sexual imagery. This type of moral panic about porn being everywhere on our high street is the type of thing regularly seen in the Mail yet it's
in a liberal newspaper.
Images that supposedly sexualise children should be removed from the streets of Plymouth, say city councillors. They backed a move by Labour councillor Kate Taylor to draw up guidelines to restrict what images can be displayed on council
property. Taylor claimed without offering any evidence:
Power and control over the female body, and pressure on boys to conform to a hyper-masculine ideal, are having a real and damaging effect on our day-to-day lives.
We as a single authority have little control over the use of sexualised advertising used by companies and businesses across the country.
But we do have an opportunity to send the message the Plymouth City Council is doing whatever it can to make sure our children grow up loving themselves for who they are.
Nicky Williams, the Cabinet member for children and young people, said that although the council could not control advertisers, it could control images on display in Plymouth's public places and council-owned buildings.
Councillors instructed chief executive Tracey Lee to draw up guidelines for the use of such imagery.
People are worried about sexualization; about children becoming sexual at too young an age; about the ways in which women may be being defined by their sexuality; and about the availability and potential effects of online pornography, to name
but a few of the often repeated concerns.
The word sexualization has been used to mean many things and to refer to a wide range of issues. This report aims to summarize what is known -- and not yet known -- on each of the main areas of concern.
The term sexualization was virtually non-existent in news headlines in 2005, but since then it has been widely used. Sexualization has become a political and policy issue; the topic of several significant reports and of comment by leading
The contributors to this report are conscious of the inaccurate and sometimes sensationalist information that often circulates publicly about sexualization, not only in media and popular books, but also in policy reports, statements by
politicians and other public figures, as well as in some academic work.
Our aim is to set out clearly what current good research tells us about these issues, and make clear what is known and what is not known or is unclear.
The report addresses the wide range of issues relating to sex, sexuality and sexual health and wellbeing that seem to underpin public anxieties that are now commonly expressed as concerns about sexualization . These include STIs,
pregnancy, addiction, dysfunction, violence, abuse, sex work, sexual practices, different forms of sexuality, medicalization, commerce, media and popular culture.