London, UK, September 21st 2011 – UNICEF’s recent report which documents the lives of children in the UK warned that British parents are trapping their children in a cycle of “compulsive consumerism” by showering them with toys and designer labels instead of spending quality time with them. The study also stated that the obsession with material goods was one of the underlying causes of the riots and widespread looting which gripped the UK last month when teenagers targeted shops for designer clothes and goods. The report, authored by Dr Agnes Nairn, an academic and marketing expert, said: “Parents in the UK almost seemed to be locked into a system of consumption which they knew was pointless but they found hard to resist.”
UNICEF has called for the British Government to ban advertising aimed at children under the age of 12 and encourage parents to work fewer hours and spend more time at home. It also warned councils against cutting children’s playgrounds and other facilities, and pointed to the summer riots that gripped the UK as a sign of the times.
Sultanah Parvin Deputy Women’s Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain commented, “Such findings simply confirm what has been clear for some time – that Britain is broken and has lost its way. Report after report has warned about the ill effects of a rampant consumer culture – the inevitable consequence of the corrosive capitalist system – which leaves no prisoners, making the young in society continuing victims of its valueless ethos. When mothers are worrying about how to afford the latest technology for their three year old in order that they not be bullied by their peers as is cited in the report, it comes as no surprise for the growing numbers who have rejected this soulless culture, that looting and thieving by the youth in the summer riots would unfortunately be another expected consequence of this destructive materialism dominated ideology.”
“Banning certain types of advertising will do little to solve any of the problems we now see. Capitalism by default cannot and will not ever produce values conducive to human dignity and honour. It only holds the monetary value as the value to be protected. It affords no time, effort or importance to the need for stable family units. It has become all too common for children to come home to an empty house where one or both parents are working, having only the television or internet for company. Such mediums, further exposing young minds to the powerful message of materialism, through advertising and popular culture on a daily basis.”
“It has in essence denied the right of parents to impart values such as respect and responsibility to their children as they are simply not around enough to do so. And to perpetuate this problem further, the guilt that parents will then naturally feel in not having enough time for their families, makes them reach for the latest technological gadgetry aimed at the young to placate this void that has been created. It has thereby forced adults to jump onto
the metaphorical ‘rat race’, fractured the family unit, and left children alone only to learn the value of the pound.”
“Islam rejects any ideals which erode the basic harmony of family life. It upholds values such as family, community, responsibility and respect as core to the make-up of a successful society. And while it too seeks to build a society which is materially progressed, rampant consumer advertising, and valuing money over all other human needs will be rejected as regressive and harmful to the fabric of society. Material progress is never to be attained at the expense of social harmony.”
“Furthermore, both the mother and the father have defined roles as to what they must provide for their young. Spiritual, moral and academic guidance are but a few of the essential elements that are the rights defined by Islam that should be afforded to every member of society. Consequently, Islam obliges parents and society to ensure that sufficient time is set aside to instill these qualities within children. Accordingly, it is with these essential characteristics that communities will produce subsequent generations who can lead and produce safe, morally elevated, and progressive societies”.