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Last Updated: Monday, 22 November 2004, 10:48 GMT
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Your comments on the 2much2young programme.

Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive, however the e-mails published will reflect the balance of opinion. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.

The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily the views of the BBC. The e-mails published will be reflective of the balance of opinion received.


It appears that the current scale and level of sophisitication of commercial marketing to young children is unprecedented. In reading the background online I am concerned at the evidence that Child Psychologists are being recruited as consultants to the fashion and leisure industries. Parents would wish to be assured that steps can be taken both by the government and by appropriate professional bodies to apply ethical guidelines and a system of accountability which will give them confidence that the process is not escalating completely without regulation from any source.
Laurie Haynes, Bristol

I have always hated the fact that children seem to be gradually losing their childhood due to the increasing influence of advertising and the materialistic world which enhances peer pressure. I can understand the way that some parents want to give in to this in order to save their children from bullying and give them a high social status. However doesn't this send out the wrong message and make their feelings of self-worth dependent on the wrong things. The fact that Adele said that she didn't like to be called a little girl as it reminded her of her 'childhood' at the age of nine says it all. It was nice to see what a balanced, well-rounded individual Imogen was. This made me think when I have children I would like to educate them at home as long as they have the opportunity to mix and have friends.
Christina Vamplew, Middlesbrough

Children only ape what adults do. The saddest part of the programme was one that wasn't actually voiced: the fact that most adults are now fashion victims who are conned into buying expensive tat simply because it has a designer label, and then are conned into changing their wardrobes when fashions change.
Duncan, Leiden, Netherlands

Unfortunately I dont think the manufacturers and companies involved in advertising and marketing products for children give enough thought to the impact they have on both children and parents lives. Their main objective is to make money and the moral consequences of selling an off the shoulder top to a seven year old girl are not their priority. Their is much talk of the nanny state but in this case I think there should be stricter guidlines on advertsing and retailing to children, as the weaker more insecure parents are sucked into the world of materialism in the belief that it makes thier children happy.
Jane, London

The issue is not one of fault but about understanding and tackling the logic of market forces. Companies are in fierce competition to create and sustain demand and have learnt that by manipulating/marketing at children their profits soare. Parents are in a catch twenty two situation balancing the teen/pre-teen desire to conform and not to stand out (thus becoming a potential target for bullies) and their values that tells them that junk food, over priced clothing etc are not desirable. Two other key points are: the fact that society blindly assumes that parents somehow inately have the skills to deal with this and other complex and demanding issues; and the need to protect children from unscrupulous admerchants by banning all forms of marketing aimed at children.
Nigel Baker, Birmingham

Thanks for such an informative and challanging insight into the power of brand names over both children and adults. The presentation was excellent but whilst showing the two extremes failed to show how it is possible to expose the 'brainwashing' of the brands to our children without taking them out of the school system.
Adrian Judd, Bangor, N Ireland

I was really impressed by home-educated Imogen and her family. She came across as very intelligent and thoughtful, and I loved her comments about the meaning of the word 'brand'.
Sara, Oxford

How sad that parents feel the need to provide their children with everything they want, at the risk of sounding old - we had to understand the true value of everything we had - these children will have a shock when they have to pay their own way. It is a huge shame that the values we would all like to instill in our children cannot be delivered by the education system and takes such drastic actions and sacrifices by parents.
Vicky, West Sussex

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether the child herself is intentionally a sexual statement: it is the adult perception that matters. I've seen a young child in a miniskirt and cropped t-shirt with the legend 'FCUK ME' emblazoned across the front. The child may well not have understood it, but what sort of message does this send out to a paedophile?
Julie, UK

The Yellow tee shirt was a part of rock and roll history, the message of which was only ever a throw away statement. This is not a designer label or a response to marketing, its history. Izaak is very interested in all rock music, this is part of his education.

I think that with all the other more important issues in the world I am suprised at peoples very negative reaction and their perception of me and my family. All my children understand the value of money they are certainly not spoilt,they are happy and generous kids and part of a large loving and cohesive family unit, surely thats the most important thing.
Phil Rushton, Birmingham, England

I find it amazing that most comments here always blame the parents. As far as I am concerned, the parents are the ones being exploited. The corporations are targeting the kids to get the parents to spent more money, for profit. It also seems that parents are willing to work all hours for the sake of this. Isn't it time we faced the real problem, instead of blaming the parents, genes, God, the weather?
Matthew, Coventry

Found the programme very interesting tonight but it paid little attention to the companies' role in this "Brand Aware" child of today. Very little was mentioned about how marketeers behave in brainwashing the youngsters and their parents into believing that they "must have" a particular brand. It is these companies that create the feeling in their young audience that they will be left out if they don't have these brands. As ever fear leads to consumption. Should we really be aiming such adverts at such a young audience?
Darren, Leeds

Panorama tonight confirmed to me that materialism is the new religion, that Sundays are special - for shopping
Terry Stockham, Folkestone
After watching Panorama tonight it confirmed to me that materialism is the new religion, that Sundays are special - for shopping and that children are being indoctrinated by the media as are their parents. Our shallow society becomes ever more shallow...
Terry Stockham, Folkestone, Kent, UK

By the end of the programme, I was wondering just who were the children and who were the parents in terms of who was ruling the roost in two of those families. The parents seemed terrified that if they did not supply the labels, that the children would not like them or "be their friends". Grow up - you are the adults here.
Nick, Cambridge

Who are the grown ups here!? The parents or "the children"!? Isn't it about time the elder generation started acting less like children and started setting down some good hard rules on what's right and what's wrong. How are the decent people amongst us supposed to survive in this world if everyone starts taking that attitude. Keep it up guys, it does make a difference!
Karen, Preston

It seems that currently, children are being forced un-naturally. Companies take advantage of these younger children's naivety, at an age they are unable to form an educated opinion on what they want. The things they own, own them. The maturity of these children is also forced to grow, but evidentially, it doesn't. These children are seen as adults at as young an age as 12. It isn't only clothes this affects, I believe this has also caused the increase in children adopting the traits of many adults, as the children grow into their teenage life through - smoking, alcohol and teenage sex. Peer pressure, a product of these consumers. I don't believe it's fair of these companies to do so.
Kyle McKelvie, Gourock, Scotland

I was shocked by the opinions and attitudes of the "tweenies" in the programme as they closely reflect that of my own, an 18-year-old! Without meaning to sound like an 80-year-old, but 'in my day' we were not concerned with make-up, designer brands, and other indulgencies such as CD players, and TV's. Childhoods are being lost to media hype and teenage activities and i think the only people who will miss out in the long run are the children themselves.
Kate Hackney, Peterborough, England

I think children do grow up too fast too young. It is our responsibility as parents to shield our future generations from the media sharks. Let's not forget who the parent is. We should spend more time with our children and know how our children feel about the world today but not as "friends", and the last word is ours, the parents. Children can switch from 3 to 10-year-olds and their brain is still developing. They are learning about people, trust, ways of expressing their opinions (good and bad), and we need to mould them into respectful, fun, loving and open human beings.

Let's give children their childhood back. They will have years and years of dealing with money, relationships, job security etc, etc.. Just because our children wear uniforms, does not shield them from bullying. It's just the first step in growing up and we as parents should make time and be there for them.
A Boynee, Preston, Lancashire

Not all children between the ages of 8 and 12 are as commercially aware as some of those on the programme. My sons, aged 8 and 11, have no interest at all in clothes, other than whether the trousers are comfortable or not etc. If the parents are bothered about brand names then the children are much more likely to be. Parents need to see the dangers of indulging young children's every whim, they need to think harder about the long term effect their short term fix (eg buying clothes to make the child happy) will have.
Lisa Samson, Harrogate, England

The children have no income - it's down to the parents. Perhaps Panorama has found the root cause of all the borrowing that has been going on. How do the parents afford it?
Ian, Hants

As a newcomer to the UK (from rural Australia) I would have to agree that the children here seem much older than back home. I always seem to have trouble buying clothes for my children because of their size (even though they are under age 12 and are of average build). The ranges for children seem to end at size 10, after that they are expected to wear what looks like adult clothes. I find it very frustrating and have complained to stores about this. I feel they should have much more appropriate ranges for kids.
Cindy, Cheshire

Diversity is the key, yet I can't help but feel a bit sorry for everyone who spends their money on some silly label. Why spend 50 on designer jeans, which you can get them for 4 at the local charity shop and do some good at the same time? I suppose, someone had to buy them new once... but on the whole the materialistic western culture is rather sick. We all have way too much, yet so few of us are really happy.
Tiina, Antrim, UK

When your child is 12 you should not regard him or her as your best friend. You should be their parent. Maybe half the problem here is that parents do not want to grow up anymore and in the absence of sanity are adopting their pre teen children as shopping partners.
Liz, Wales

A few Christian values would be a great help and support to parents and children alike
Richard Austin, Boston, Lincolnshire
Religion did not appear to feature in the lives of any of these children or their parents unless one counts visiting those cathedrals of consumerism - shopping malls. A few Christian values would be a great help and support to parents and children alike in both the short and long term.
Richard Austin, Boston, Lincolnshire

I'm a teenager - I'm 14 - and this sort of stuff happens all the time. It's a sad fact that if you don't look, speak, and act the same as the "in-crowd" then you do get bullied. I don't care though because I don't see the point in looking the same as everybody else. I thought it was disgusting the way some of the parents acted, especially the ones of that nine year old girl. Another thing that shocked me was the way the children reacted to the Oxfam logo. It basically all boils down to the parents and the way they treat their children. So my advice is look the way you want to look and don't give a stuff about what anyone else thinks of you, because it's your life, and you'll be a happier person for it!
Suzanne, Airdrie, Scotland

Quality time not quality shopping is what is needed
Steve Fuller, Hove
I think that the children shown were very sweet but very spoilt. Parents must take control and should not pay out large amounts of money for these clothes and other goods on demand. The children shown will not go through life with everything provided on demand. A time will come when this is not possible. What then? We have just seen the other side of the coin with the annual Children In Need appeal. Children are being allowed to grow up so quickly nowadays which I think is a great pity. They are losing their childhood, which soon goes anyway through the speed of time. Parents must spend more time with their children, not more money to make up for the little time many parents spend with their children. Quality time not quality shopping is what is needed, in my view.
Steve Fuller, Hove, England

There is real pressure from peers and the threat of being ostracized and even bullied for not wearing the right labels. When did individualism die? Without original (and therefore interesting) people in society life is going to be pretty dull for future generations.
John Foster, Petersfield

A nine year old girl may want to wear a short skirt and make-up, but that doesn't make her any more sexual than her mother was at that age. It's adults who turn that into a sexual statement, not the nine-year-old. Children want to emulate their role model Pop Idols. There's nothing wrong with that. It's adults who apply the Pop Idol's sexuality to the child who need education.
Lee Stuart, Bristol, England

I think it is absolutely sickening, babies left in nurseries from a few weeks old. Puppies get longer with their mum
Jean, Nottingham
Being loved and feeling wanted by your parents is far more important to a child than any expensive gift or brand name clothes. Too many parents trying to compensate for not being at home by buying them. I think it is absolutely sickening, babies left in nurseries from a few weeks old. Puppies get longer with their mum.
Jean, Nottingham

It's all down to the parents, they should say no.
Stuart Long, Lowestoft

Aside from stating the obvious - that kids are influenced by fads and fashions - this programme was a wasted opportunity. Any child brought up in the 1960s would be less than amazed at the "revelations" in the story. As for hard evidence for its thesis, rather than comfy anecdotes, this was lacking. Finally, so what? If the "problems" identified continued into adulthood, that would make a real story rather than a manufactured one.
John Davis, Bolton

We may only be 21/22 but the age gap between our generations is substantial. while watching your programme we were both appalled by the response of both the parents and the children in their attitudes. The children are becoming shallow, opinionated and spoilt. Their lives are becoming revolved around what is popular and hip rather than being children, which they are. The only child who seemed to have any concept of reality was Imogen who was more aware of her surroundings and environment. these children will grow up to be selfish, with no concept of value or self worth. If this is the generation that will someday rule this country - I'm worried.
Katy Jackson and Laura Singleton, Edinburgh

I believe the 2much2young gives a biased impression of tweens. The programme looked at, yes, both ends of the spectrum although the majority of tweens are in the middle. A year ago when I was twelve, yes, I had designer labels but only a few, not like Adele or Izaak and not like Imogen. I buy most of my clothes from H&M. This as you will know is a cheap clothing store. I shop there simply because they have very stylish designs that keep up with the trend and are cheap enough so you can buy whatever comes into fashion without spending a fortune.

My mother, a GP, gives me 50 a month to spend on all my clothes and all my other thing such as PC games. Regarding adverts, yes I do know the labels but I don't feel I need them. At my school I felt no great pressure to wear labels. Many of the so called popular people were not particularly rich and wore labels. They were normal and no one was picked on unless they really asked for it. Did anyone ever think that kids didn't go to Oxfam because small children would think it was unhygienic to wear someone else's clothes.
Rachel Hubball, Redditch, England

Peer pressure is such an issue these days at school - my daughter is eight but has been suffering from the affects of peers having things that are 'in' since she was five (even Harry Potter was a problem from that age - she was too young but friends had read/seen HP and excluded her from games in consequence). She hasn't yet started pestering for designer labels, partly because her school has a uniform, but when this happens I'll have to be prepared with good reasons why the label isn't important except for image, and will have to support her and give her strength to overcome any nasty comments. I liked the refreshing attitude of the home educating parents featured and their very telling comments about spending time with their children and not treating the children as an accessory to a lifestyle which is sadly all to common these days.
Anna, Milton Keynes, UK

The late Bill Hicks sums up my feelings nicely: "By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself."

In a society where people serve the economy, rather than the other way around, then sooner or later somebody will take advantage of the weak for commercial advantage.
Xaphod, Manchester, England.

I say take away the TVs and get a life!
Helen Piper, Waterlooville
The parents in the programme all seemed to have plenty of money. You did not show any single parents, struggling to feed their children whilst the children were nagging for all the latest fashions. I thought the yellow T-shirt was disgusting and the father should not have encouraged the boy to wear filthy words on his clothes. Well done to the parents who were encouraging their two girls to be individuals, and be thrifty. When those spoilt children have to buy their own things, I wonder how they'll manage? What a pity that some friendships depended on what clothes they wore. It all seems crazy. I say take away the TVs and get a life!
Helen Piper, Waterlooville,

My faith in the current misguided generation of label parenting was restored by those home educating their children. They were being educated in the real sense, as well as the academic sense. What great kids! As for the others....
Ed Anthony, Cambridge, Cambs

I'm now wondering if there's something wrong with my 8-year-old and her friends! None of them is worried about wearing "labels" and my daughter is happy as long as her clothes are comfortable and mostly pink. If I found out that kids at her school were being bullied for wearing "Nicky-no-name" clothes I'd be horrified.

Were the three families shown really representative? Two families who bought their kids off with high-fashion labels and one who home-schooled their kids. Couldn't the makers find anyone in between?
Gillian Riddell, Aberdeen, Scotland

Materialism in schools is an increasing problem, that in my opinion is spiralling out of control. Even though I'm only 17, when I was younger there was no peer pressure put on me to wear top name brands, until I hit secondary school. Teenagers in general need to learn what it is like to be teenagers again, instead of playing on computers and buying expensive clothes they should be outside. However to an extent this has become more difficult. In my opinion this can only be tackled by education of both the adult and child, and religion.
Mark, Stockton

Where were the children from the poorer parents featured in this programme? You know the kids of postmen ,shop assistants. The ones who live in council houses on low income?
Jackie Laats, Beeston, Notts

As a marketing undergraduate all I can say is that what the organisations are trying to do is obviously working!
Nicholas Baker, Northampton

Never mind the children, look at the parents. Children imitate their parents value system. Parents themselves are sucked into the whole marketing campaign and are spending their 'family time' at shopping centres. If parents spent time with their children at parks, or playing sports and games together, we might have a physically and mentally healthier society.
Pat Kavanagh, Wicklow, Ireland

Materialism is one of the most powerful tools in a capitalist society. Children being sucked into this culture is just a ominous reflection of the state of Western society .
Emiko Okoturo, St Andrews Fife Scotland

Imogen, clearly an intelligent person, seemed genuinely pleased with her 'Bratz' doll. Isn't enjoying the things you buy just a part of today's childhood? It seems to me that parents feel being a child is about maintaining innocence, but doesn't that imply ignorance, something that the more clued up kids of today are without?
Habib Choudhry, Poole, U.K.

Perhaps the adult world needs to stop and think about what kind of childhood we are creating. Children are only responding to what is presented to them. We need to love our kids which requires time and commitment. It can't be bought, we may wish it could be - but it can't. Love doesn't come with a Nike logo it comes with an ear, a hand and a love that knows no limit.
Jon Hills, Gloucester

There are tears and tantrums if I refuse to buy the latest boots/coat/clothes
Shirley, Burnham
As a parent of a six-year-old girl, I'm finding I come under increasing pressure to buy 'cool' clothes, and there are tears and tantrums if I refuse to buy the latest boots/coat/clothes. I find it sickening that society and in particular our children's own peer group can isolate and bully children for not having the right clothes. Even with school uniforms, my daughter still needs to have a 'cool' coat and shoes. It's a shame they are under this pressure and can't just enjoy growing up.

I have much admiration for the parents of Imogen shown in the film, who seem to be helping their daughters make thoughtful decisions as to how they want to grow up and what is truly important to them.
Shirley, Burnham, UK

I can't figure out whether it's the power of advertising, lack of instrumenting discipline by parents or parents competing with the neighbours via their kids. Either way - interesting show. Will continue my contemplation of whether or not to have kids.
Robert, Southampton, Hampshire

Amazing insight into an increasingly worrying problem, fuelled by parents like Adele's. Imogen will clearly develop into a rounded, independent individual but girls like her have to pay the price for that during their formative years. A sad state of affairs. A great insight, well formatted.
Lyndsey Connor, Middlesbrough, UK

I do not know anyone who gets bullied for not having designer brands and I have never heard of the term "nicky no-name". I'm sure it happens in my school but I just don't choose to try and be friends with people who would segregate me because of the clothes I wear. There are plenty of people like me at my school and I only have one or two designer clothes in my wardrobe and they are hats.
Ben Mercer, Portsmouth, England

A brilliant programme, although very disturbing indeed. I teach Media Studies to 16+ students, many of whom are brand addicts and Britney 'wannabes'. It will be interesting to see what they make of the points made in your programme. Thank you for (once again) making an excellent, thought provoking television programme.
Val Pope, Morpeth, Northumberland

We need this kind of programming to show society what a complete mess it is getting itself into
Alyson Mead, Cobham
Good programme Panorama, though quite worrying and frightening to watch. What became so blatantly clear was how influential the parents were in the children's lives. We need this kind of programming to show society what a complete mess it is getting itself into.
Alyson Mead, Cobham, England

I can't quite believe it. Children? There soon won't be any children any more. Just little adults. These children should be taught that there are more important things in life than designer labels. They are brainwashed by whom? Mostly their parents and/or other kids. Why don't they realise you just pay for the label. Most designer labels are made in the same places as cheaper versions.
Linda Moss, Nuneaton

If our children "have it all" now what do they have to look forward to? to aspire to? We have a nation of 25-30 year old hedonists now. What will today's 10 year olds be like in 10 years time? Their experiences of life are manufactured and if Britney is a role model with burgers as the wedding fare.
Lynn, UK

I think that parents shouldn't encourage their children to wear brands. My parents didn't do that with me, and it didn't make me unhappy or feel left out. I also think that this is a typical British thing, because I don't recognise this kind of behaviour. Most tweens I know like to wear brands, but they also wear lots of clothes which are brandless and they are not being picked on because of that. Great show.
Susanne, Epe, Netherlands

Surely its time for parents to take responsibility for teaching children to care about others - not just others wearing labels and to allow them to be children and not their (the parents') friends.
Linda Moore, Manchester, UK

No wonder our society is in so much trouble. If these children don't learn at this age that they can't have everything they want, they will grow up into the most selfish adults. I despair.
Sandra Smith, UK

I think that Western society has trouble on the whole with ageism. This point was highlighted at the end of the 2 much 2 young show. We like to consider ourselves anti-ageist as a society but the whole of our society wishes they were 16-24. How do we change this? Who knows?
Jody, Peterborough, Cambs

The home educated children were much more interesting than the other children.
Lisa Knox, North Yorkshire



SEE ALSO
2much2young
17 Nov 04 |  Panorama
Meet the Tweens
21 Nov 04 |  Panorama


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