Letter to the Telegraph, 11th April 2013

I signed this letter published in the Daily Telegraph calling for an end to advertising targeted at children. Other countries have done it, and so could we. Thanks to Jonathan Kent and Rupert Read for organising this.

SIR – We want to see an immediate end to all advertising aimed at children of primary school age and younger. We have sleepwalked into a situation where the advertising industry, worth £12 billion a year in Britain alone, is allowed to turn techniques designed to manipulate adult emotions and desires on to children as young as two or three. This is wrong.
Almost all children under 11 depend on their parents for money. So advertising makes heavy use of "pester power", as it is more effective than targeting parents directly. Yet a civilised society should require advertisers to sell to parents, not to children. When children are learning about the cost of material things, and about managing small quantities of money, they should be free to do so without the pressures put on them by advertising.
As things stand, we are in danger of turning out young consumers rather than young citizens – people who define themselves more by what they buy than by what they can contribute to society. Children should be free to channel their energies into forming friendships, discovering their talents and unleashing their imaginations; things that cost little but whose value is immeasurable.
Bans on advertising aimed at young children are already working in places such as Sweden, Quebec and Greece. It's time for a similar ban here.
Jonathan Kent, Co-founder, Leave Our Kids Alone
Rupert Read, Co-Founder, Leave Our Kids Alone
Bel Mooney, Writer
Susie Orbach, Author
George Monbiot, Author, journalist and campaigner 
Oliver James, Psychologist and author
Martin Kirk, Global Campaigns Director, The Rules 
Natalie Bennett, Leader, Green Party of England and Wales
Caroline Lucas, MP
Dr Ian Gibson, Former MP
John Hilary, Executive Director of WAR ON WANT
Tony Juniper, Sustainability advisor and writer
Ed Gillespie, Co-Director, Futerra 
George Marshall, Climate Outreach and Information Network
Neal Lawson, Chair of Compass
Linda Jack, Chair of Liberal Left
Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett, Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University
Tom Crompton, Author, ‘Common Cause’ 
Adrian Ramsay, Green Party Home Affairs spokesman
Dr Richard House, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, University of Winchester
Professor Michael M. Patte, Bloomsburg University
Dr. David Whitebread, University of Cambridge
Dr Teresa Belton, University of East Anglia School of Education & Lifelong Learning
Sue Palmer, Author, 'Toxic Childhood'
Professor Andrew Samuels, Essex University
Professor Guy Claxton, Author and educationalist
Susanna Abse, CEO, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships
Tanith Carey, Author, Where Has My Little Girl Gone? How to Protect Your Daughter From Growing Up Too Soon.
Dr Jennifer Gidley, President, World Futures Studies Federation Professor
Kevin J Brehony, Froebel Professor of Early Childhood Studies, Froebel College, Roehampton University
Rev Paul Nicolson, Taxpayers Against Poverty
Dr Lindsay Peer CBE, Psychologist
Claude Knights FRSA, Director of Kidscape
Sue Gerhardt, Author and psychotherapist
Greg Brooks, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Sheffield
Fiona Danks, Co-author, Going Wild books
Patrick Holford, Author and founder, Food for the Brain Foundation
Paul Cooper, National Projects Director, National Children’s Football Alliance
Fiona Carnie, Educationalist and writer
Linda Pound, Early years consultant
Dr Maria Robinson, Educational Consultant
Dr Gillian Proctor, Clinical Psychologist and author
Professor Iain McGilchrist, Author, The Master and his Emissary
Dr Robert Snell, Psychotherapist
Kim Crewe, Head of Therapeutic Services, The Dialogue Centre
Sami Timimi, Director of Medical Education, Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust
Dr Maria Robinson, Early years adviser
Dr Lindsay Peer CBE
Sir Tim Brighouse, Former Schools Commissioner for London
Pippa Smith, Co Chairman, Safermedia Miranda Suit, Co Chairman, Safermedia
Colin Richards, Emeritus Professor, University of Cumbria
Professor Del Loewenthal, University of Roehampton 
Saci Lloyd, Author, The Carbon Diaries and Momentum
Dr Bronwen Rees, Director of Centre for Transformational Management Practice, Anglia Ruskin University
Martin Large, Author, lecturer, Stroud Common Wealth
Christopher Clouder, International Director, Alliance for Childhood