Advertising Association disputes negative impact on children claims

The Advertising Association has rejected claims that the commercial world has a negative impact on children in a new report published today (January 26). Instead, it claims its research has found it actually enhances children’s lives.

The report, Children’s wellbeing in a commercial world, looks at the wellbeing of children over the past 15 years and has been produced by a panel of academics appointed by the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

It says that the report has found that the “fundamental values” of children has remained the same or been strengthened, that there are indications of increased media literacy, and that there has been a decline in children’s need to keep up with fashion.

Meanwhile, it also found that there have been positive trends in the role of family and parental relations, and increase self-esteem.

A separate pilot study looking into what factors 11 to 15 year olds believe impacts on their wellbeing found that the top six benefits are having fun, keeping in touch with friends, relaxing and entertainment, keeping out of harm, being independent and following their own interests and learning new things.

The internet, mobile phones, TV and press, MP3s, computer games and advertising are “powerful enablers of wellbeing”.

Peta Buscombe, the outgoing chief executive of the AA (pictured), says the research shows that the wellbeing of children and young people is “robust” and “certainly not in decline despite the changes in the context of childhood”.

She adds: “It is a timely and vital contribution to the public debate about the impact of the commercial world on children’s wellbeing and explodes the myths of emotive sloganeering such as ‘toxic children’ and the ‘commercialisation of childhood’.”

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