Website unveiled to help parents anxious about marketing

UK media regulators have joined forces to launch a website to help parents have a voice on issues relating to inappropriate programmes, adverts, products and services.

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The initiative follows up on recommendations made in Mothers’ Union boss Reg Bailey’s report in June on concerns about commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.

The website, named ParentPort, has been set up to make it easier for parents to complain about material they have seen or heard across the media, communications and retail industries.

Bodies involved include the Advertising Standards Authority, the Authority for Television On Demand, the BBC Trust, the British Board of Film Classification, Ofcom, the Press Complaints Commission and the Video Standards Council/Pan-European Game Information.

ParentPort provides help on what parents can do if they feel they have seen or heard something inappropriate for their children and makes the process of complaining easier by directing parents to the right regulator for their specific area of concern.

The website also offers a feedback facility to allow parents to provide informal comments which regulators will use as an extra gauge of parental views.

There is also advice on how to keep children safe online and what parents can do about other products like clothing and the display of magazines in shops.

Chief executive of Ofcom Ed Richards says: “Seven UK media regulators have come together to develop a single website, with a single aim – to help protect children from inappropriate material. Each regulator shares this common purpose and is committed to helping parents make their views and concerns known. We have already tested the website with parents and the feedback has been positive. We will keep listening to parents and intend to develop the site in light of further feedback.”

Bailey says: “We are delighted to see responsible providers now actively helping families to manage media in the home by offering this greater opportunity to protect children.”

The website has been unveiled at the same time as the marketing industry and brand owners have delivered proposals to Prime Minister David Cameron and education minister Sarah Teather at Downing Street to address concerns about commercialsition of children.

These proposals include an end to peer to peer marketing and child brand ambassadors.

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