Local Mums fight tide of porn at child height  

Local Mums are fighting back as our local shops become increasingly filled with sexualised images.  


April 27, 2013
After watching her three year old daughter staring at an obscene cover of the Daily Sport as she queued up to buy bread and milk in her local supermarket, Local Mum Anna Matthews complained to the shop manager.

"I understand that pornography will always be available," says Carshalton Mum-of-four Anna, "But what I do not accept is porn aimed at my babies in their buggies."

Anna is not alone in feeling the display of sexually explicit newspapers and lads mags at toddlers' eye level in our local shops is unacceptable. A Local Mums Online survey revealed that 95% of our members think these publications should not be displayed where children can see them.

The government agrees. In its report into the premature sexualisation of children in Britain "Letting Children Be Children," which discusses the well-documented damage these images can cause to young children, it states that publishers and distributors should 'provide sexualised magazines in modesty sleeves.' 

The report also recommends that modesty boards are made available to all outlets and strongly encourages the appropriate display of their publications. 'Retailers should welcome and act on customer feedback regarding magazine displays,' the report states.

So why is this pornography still being displayed next to sweets at child height in our local shops? 

"It is clear that local retailers are ignoring the government guidelines regarding the display of this material, which is well-known to have damaging effects on children that view it," said Kathy McGuinness, founder of Local Mums Online. "Many of our members have complained about these images being displayed at toddler height. Sadly, it seems that shop owners are prepared to ignore the damage to local children in favour of profit."

When Anna Matthews politely asked for the images to be removed from her toddlers' eye line in her local shop the manager just shrugged his shoulders. The owner of Park Lane Newsagents in Carshalton, who displays the Daily Sport along side children's comics, told Local Mums Online: "Mothers have asked us to move the Daily Sport out of their children's view but we're not going to. We can display it where ever we like. It's a newspaper."

MP's support
Local MP Tom Brake supports Local Mums' campaign to encourage local shops to protect children from viewing pornographic material. "'Letting Children Be Children' states that retailers should be open and transparent to show that they welcome and will act on customer feedback regarding magazine displays," he says. "I would be happy to take up any issues with local retailers who are displaying these materials at child height."

Local Mums Online have prepared a report based on the feedback from our members. The report details pictures of pornographic displays at child height in local supermarkets and newsagents as well as incidences of local shop owners 'laughing and verbally abusing' local mothers who have complained about their displays.

"We presented this report to our local MP Tom Brake," said Kathy McGuinness. "We are delighted to have his support in making public spaces safer for local children. He will be forwarding our report and recommendations to Claire Perry MP, who is in charge of the issue of  sexualisation and children in the Media."

Meanwhile The Co-op have told Local Mums Online: “We have a clear policy to display any titles that may be for an adult audience away from those aimed at a younger audience, and this has been reiterated to the store in question. The store staff will endeavour to ensure that all ‘lads mags’ and similar publications will be merchandised on the top tier of all fixtures, and also be overlapped to avoid any over display of images.”

Local Mums Online attended the Co-op's regional members' meeting in Westminster today to discuss their positioning and sale of newspapers with pornographic and sexualised content.  

"We received a huge round of applause when we asked for papers like The Sun to be placed on the top shelf, out of children's sight," said Kathy. "The panel agreed to discuss their policy on  the sale, display and advertising in The Sun and other papers at their board meeting on May 2nd, 2013. Lots of members came and congratulated us at the end of the meeting."

Fill in our quick survery and help us get porn out of children's view in our local shops

Find out more about Local Mums campaign with Child's Eye Line to protect children from being shown sexual images in shops and public places 

Read more on this story as reported by our local newspaper

Local Mum Anna Matthews describes why she is sick of seing porn at child height in our local shops.

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