'Sexualisation' proposals defended
A Government minister has defended proposals that stop short of legislation to halt the so-called "pornification" of childhood, insisting regulation "doesn't necessarily solve everything".
Speaking at the launch of a Government-commissioned review of the sexualisation and commercialisation of young people, children's minister Sarah Teather said "an enormous amount of goodwill" had been generated by the report.
Asked what was actually going to be different if there was no change in the law, she said: "It's not necessarily the case that you always change everything by regulation. I think there's a real commitment across the board to make sure we address these issues."
But the Government is not ruling out regulation altogether, she added.
Prime Minister David Cameron has backed recommendations in the review carried out by Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey.
These include the introduction of a website to help parents complain about the sexualisation of children, moves to make it easier to block adult content on mobile phones, bans on raunchy billboard posters near schools and the use of youngsters to market products.
Under the changes proposed by Mr Bailey, steamy pop videos would be restricted to older teens and later television slots, and magazines featuring sexualised images would be covered up on shelves.
In response to demands for restrictions on inappropriate children's clothing - including lace lingerie and push-up bras - the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has also launched new guidelines, to which nine major stores have signed up.
Asked why others would choose to follow suit when it has long been held that sex sells, Ms Teather said: "Once we empower parents to be able to complain and air their views without being seen as a prude, I think you'll find appropriate things also sell.
"It's not necessarily the case that the only way to sell is to have a rapid descent to the lowest common denominator."