Increasing commercialisation damaging children's well-being

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London, Feb 27 (UNI) A high percentage of adults in the United Kingdom believed that increasing commercialisation was damaging children's well-being.

In a public opinion poll published by The Children's Society, UK showed adults' concern about various areas of children's lifestyle with 61 per cent respondents saying that the Government should ban the advertising of unhealthy food and 69 per cent agreeing that violent video games make children more aggressive.

In the poll conducted by GfK NOP, a market research organisation, sixty per cent of those surveyed believed that young people's self-esteem is damaged by the media's negative coverage of their age group.

A whopping 89 per cent of adults felt that children nowadays are more materialistic than in past generations and an overwhelming majority (90 per cent) of adults thought that advertising to children at Christmas puts pressure on parents to spend more than they can afford. This could put parents and families at risk of debt in the early months of the new year and beyond.

Professor Philip Graham, Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry at The Institute of Child Health, London and an inquiry panel member, believes that commercial pressures may have worrying psychological effects on children.

''Evidence both from the United States and from the UK suggests that those most influenced by commercial pressures also show higher rates of mental health problems.'' Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children's Society said: ''A crucial question raised by the inquiry is whether childhood should be a space where developing minds are free from concentrated sales techniques. As adults we have to take responsibility for the current level of marketing to children. To accuse children of being materialistic in such a culture is a cop out. Unless we question our own behaviour as a society, we risk creating a generation who are left unfulfilled through chasing unattainable lifestyles.'' The inquiry will hold meetings on the remaining themes of health and values over the next 12 months before publishing its final report in early 2009.

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