In the Compass think-tank report, children were being “engulfed” by corporate images, with some firms even setting up websites to encourage children to pester their parents to buy goods for them.
The UK’s “child-oriented market” has grown to £30billion, Compass states, citing the example US firm Wal-Mart, which owns Asda, which allows children to pick what they want on its website and enter their parents’ email addresses.
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and patron of the national inquiry, warned that commercialisation during childhood could lead to problems as adults, including low self-esteem and financial worries, such as debt.
“There is an increasing political and social consensus that something needs to be done to safeguard children from the worst excesses of direct marketing and the pressures of commercialisation,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The report comes as the government takes steps to better inform schoolchildren about financial and debt management as there are fears that Britons are growing up with poor fiscal skills.