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Parents 'complicit' in sexualisation of children

Parents are too often complicit in the sexualisation and commercialisation of children, according to the author of a British Government review into childhood.

Too many parents either willingly encourage or turn a blind eye to their children signing up to Facebook, watching adult films or wearing inappropriate clothing, said Reg Bailey, the author of Letting Children be Children.

The report, well received by campaigners when it was published earlier this month, was commissioned by the Department for Education in the UK.

It prompted retailers to promise to stop selling "sexy" underwear to children and Ofcom, Britain's broadcast regulator, to pledge to tighten up its use of the watershed.

However, Mr Bailey, speaking to The Daily Telegraph newspaper, said that parents were too often "complicit" in the "unthinking drift towards ever greater commercialisation and sexualisation" of children, and that retailers, broadcasters and the Government could not take all of the blame.

He said: "I was alarmed at the number of parents who were complicit in buying 18-rated video games for their children.

"One father said it was OK that he played Grand Theft Auto with his 13-year-old son because it helped them bond together." He added that there "must be easier ways of bonding" with a child than playing a game that allowed "gangsters to run over prostitutes".

"That doesn't seem to be a very healthy balance in a relationship between father and son."

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