FIRMS WRECKING CHILDHOOD, SAY TEACHERS
By Rosa Prince Rosa.Prince@Mirror.Co.Uk 07/04/2007
GREEDY firms were urged by teachers yesterday to stop robbing youngsters of their childhood.
They were accused of sexualising children by encouraging them to wear provocative clothes, seducing them into eating junk food and pressuring them to become obsessed by image.
Now the NUT wants a government ban on all advertising in schools.
General secretary Steve Sinnott said: "We're letting youngsters down.
"They're the target of advertising messages so unhelpful they can damage their well-being. Child hood should be about education and enjoyment not exploitation. These things must end."
Mr Sinnott hit out after the NUT published a damning expose of the commercialisation of childhood, Growing up in a Material World.
It highlighted how firms exploit children's "pester power" to get parents to buy them expensive clothes and toys so they can stay "cool".
Pressure to develop the perfect body led to teenage boys taking steroids and girls developing eating disorders.
Accusing stores of having sold push-up bras for under-nines, the report said: "A disturbing aspect is the trend for pre-teenage girls to wear inappropriate and provocative clothes and make-up.
"This can send out dangerous messages and illustrates the pressure on children to be 'grown up'."
Calling for the ad ban, the document said industry's infiltration of children's lives was hindering schools to help children think for themselves.
It said: "Children should be protected from advertising aimed at enticing them or their parents to buy a particular brand."