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Bailey Review 'Letting Children be children' published on 7th June 2011

Bailey Review – Parents should make ‘active choices’ when it comes to parental controls

Reg Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Mothers Union, published his report ‘Letting Children be children’ on June 7th 2011.  This was a report of his independent review looking at the commercialisation and sexualisation pressures on children to grow up too quickly.  The review was commissioned by the UK Government because ‘of the concerns of many parents who feel their children are under increasing pressure to become consumers, and that the world they live in is a more sexualised place than when their parents were growing up’. 

The review heard from a wide range of contributors, most notably around 2,000 parents and built on previous independent reviews conducted for the UK Government by Professor Tanya Byron and Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

The published report has been welcomed by the Government and the Prime Minister, in his letter of thanks to Reg Bailey, comments “I very much agree with the central approach you set out. As you say, we should not to try and wrap children up in cotton wool or simply throw our hands up and accept the world as it is. Instead, we should look to put “the brakes on an unthinking drift towards ever greater commercialisation and sexualisation”. 

In terms of recommendations, the report makes a wide range of recommendations covering the exposure of children to sexualised images as well as the commercialisation of children as consumers with particular reference to childrens clothing and products.  It also has provision for making parental voices heard.

In terms of the Internet, the directly applicable recommendation relates to ‘Making it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material from the Internet’.  The report recommends that the Internet industry ensure that parents must make an ‘active choice’ over what content their children view.  This relates specifically to parental controls and filtering providers as well as age verification mechanisms.  The report suggests that the Internet industry is granted a ‘reasonable timescale’ to agree a voluntary code, after which he recommends Government regulation.  This ‘active choice’ takes the middle ground compared to previous recommendations; Professor Tanya Byron recommended that parental controls not be activated by default, where as Dr Linda Papadopoulos suggested that they should be.

Other notable recommendations relate to the reducing the exposure of children to sexualised images, either through newspapers, magazines, on street advertising and pre watershed television.  Additionally there is specific reference to age ratings for music videos.

The recommendations concerning children as consumers include better representation of the views of parents in advertising regulation and also their heightened awareness of advertising techniques.  In terms of techniques, it suggests that employing children as ‘brand ambassadors’ is prohibited and finally that standards should be introduced for educational resources for media and commercial literacy.

Regarding clothing, the report recommends a retail code of good practice be adopted.  Finally two recommendations are included that aim to ensure the parental voices are better heard through clearer comment and complaint procedures by regulators and businesses.

The full report can be downloaded from the Department for Education at http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/healthandwellbeing/b0074315/bailey-review

The Prime Ministers letter to Reg Bailey can be seen at http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/statements-and-articles/2011/06/letter-to-reg-bailey-following-his-review-of-the-commercialisation-and-sexualisation-of-childhood-64386

n>The review heard from a wide range of contributors, most notably around 2,000 parents and built on previous independent reviews conducted for the UK Government by Professor Tanya Byron and Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

 

The published report has been welcomed by the Government and the Prime Minister, in his letter of thanks to Reg Bailey, comments “I very much agree with the central approach you set out. As you say, we should not to try and wrap children up in cotton wool or simply throw our hands up and accept the world as it is. Instead, we should look to put “the brakes on an unthinking drift towards ever greater commercialisation and sexualisation”. 

In terms of recommendations, the report makes a wide range of recommendations covering the exposure of children to sexualised images as well as the commercialisation of children as consumers with particular reference to childrens clothing and products.  It also has provision for making parental voices heard.

In terms of the Internet, the directly applicable recommendation relates to ‘Making it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material from the Internet’.  The report recommends that the Internet industry ensure that parents must make an ‘active choice’ over what content their children view.  This relates specifically to parental controls and filtering providers as well as age verification mechanisms.  The report suggests that the Internet industry is granted a ‘reasonable timescale’ to agree a voluntary code, after which he recommends Government regulation.  This ‘active choice’ takes the middle ground compared to previous recommendations; Professor Tanya Byron recommended that parental controls not be activated by default, where as Dr Linda Papadopoulos suggested that they should be.

Other notable recommendations relate to the reducing the exposure of children to sexualised images, either through newspapers, magazines, on street advertising and pre watershed television.  Additionally there is specific reference to age ratings for music videos.

The recommendations concerning children as consumers include better representation of the views of parents in advertising regulation and also their heightened awareness of advertising techniques.  In terms of techniques, it suggests that employing children as ‘brand ambassadors’ is prohibited and finally that standards should be introduced for educational resources for media and commercial literacy.

Regarding clothing, the report recommends a retail code of good practice be adopted.  Finally two recommendations are included that aim to ensure the parental voices are better heard through clearer comment and complaint procedures by regulators and businesses.

The full report can be downloaded from the Department for Education at http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/healthandwellbeing/b0074315/bailey-review

The Prime Ministers letter to Reg Bailey can be seen at http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/statements-and-articles/2011/06/letter-to-reg-bailey-following-his-review-of-the-commercialisation-and-sexualisation-of-childhood-64386