Regulators ready Parent Port push after complaints drop

UK media regulators are partnering with Mumsnet and Netmums to boost awareness of Parent Port – the website where parents can post complaints about inappropriate programmes, ads, products and services – after a drop in the number of comments and complaints.

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The government-backed Parent Port – a joint initiative by regulators including the Advertising Standards Authority, Ofcom, the BBC Trust and the Press Complaints Commission – launched in October following a call by Mothers’ Union chief executive Reg Bailey, in his report on the sexualisation of childhood, to make it easier for parents to complain.

Complaints and comments are thought to have spiked in the weeks after its launch but have since fallen off. The regulators declined to provide figures.

The advertising and media industry is keen to demonstrate that it is taking its pledge to simplify the complaint procedure, as called for by Bailey.

Industry figures are to attend Downing Street to update the prime minister David Cameron and education minister Sarah Teather on the progress made implementing the changes later this month. The first progress report, which unveiled plans to launch the site, took place in October.

The parenting sites are directing parents to a survey on Parent Port. The survey explores parents’ views on the work of relevant regulators. Key findings will be published.

Further promotional activity is planned over the next few months that will look to use in-kind marketing support provided by media owners and advertisers.

The moves follow several pledges from the advertising industry in October to meet the report’s requirements. In a move co-ordinated by the Advertising Association, companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Nintendo pledged to stop using peer-to-peer marketing or child brand ambassadors in their campaigns.

The ASA, in response to Bailey’s call to restrict outdoor ads containing sexualised imagery where large numbers of children are likely to see them, promised to establish a framework for judging ads that are sexually suggestive.

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