The Impact of the Commercial World on Children's Wellbeing: Report of an Independent Assessment
The Social Issues Research Centre was commissioned in 2008 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to undertake two extensive reviews to inform a wider independent assessment of the impact of the commercial world on children's wellbeing.
The first of the SIRC reviews, Children and Family Life: Socio-Demographic Changes focuses on the engagement of families and children in the commercial world by taking a longitudinal approach to the changes and continuities in family life over the past half century. It is divided into three sections that deal with different aspects of children's and families' commercial engagement:
- Childhood and family life: socio-demographic changes from 1950 to the present provides a broad analysis of the sociodemographic changes and continuities that have helped shape childhood and family life in modern Britain.
- The economic dimensions of family life begins with a longitudinal analysis of household income and expenditure. This allows for an historical perspective of commercial engagement as part of family life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, highlighting both change, continuity and variation in how children and families have earned and spent their money. This is followed by an examination of income, wealth and expenditure in family life today, focusing specifically on the role of children as both producers of wealth and as active consumers within the family unit.
- Children and families: spending time links socio-demographic trends related to consumption and family expenditure, or spending money, with information about how, where and when children, parents and other family members spend their time.
The second of the SIRC reviews, The Ecology of Family Life focuses in particular on the role of consumption in the ecology of family life in contemporary Britain, providing an 'inside' account of the changing processes of consumption that take place within different types of families. The review also explores the ways in which commercial activities relate to broader relationships between family members. The first SIRC report (Childhood and family life: Socio-demographic changes) paves the way for the more in-depth account presented here, in which we rely on additional qualitative studies to capture the lived experiences of children and families.
The assessment, led by Professor David Buckingham and conducted by an independent multidisciplinary panel of experts is now complete.
The full report (including appendices) is available from the DCSF website here
Follow the links below to download SIRC's contributions to the assessment directly from the DCSF website.