Govt Must Tackle Issue of Child Sexualisation

Family First NZ is calling on the government to tackle the issue of child sexualisation in our media and to tighten the regulations around advertising and broadcasting in order to better protect our children.

The call has been prompted by the release of a report by the UK Home Office entitled Sexualisation of Young People: Review by Dr Linda Papadopoulos. The report says that “The evidence so far indicates that it is time we critically examine the cumulative effect of the media messages to which our children are exposed and how we can mitigate any negative effects resulting from them.”

“The government must front up to this important issue rather than adopting the current ‘hands-off’ approach,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The recent marketing of sexualised shirts by Cotton On Kids to be worn by babies, the provocative Little Losers line targeted at young teenagers by clothing store Jay Jays, sexually charged billboard advertising in public places, and graphic sexual music videos, dolls, and tween magazines and websites which encourage young people to look older and act sexier are examples of marketers and broadcasters crossing the line of what is acceptable and appropriate for our communities and for the protection of our children.”

Studies from behavioural psychologists have found that as the media and marketers target young people with sexualised messages, there has been a corresponding increase in young girls suffering from depression, self-harm, eating disorders, anxiety, lower academic performance, and deteriorating attitudes and behaviour towards others. The report says that the message for boys is to be sexually dominant, aggressive, and to objectify the female body.

Family First NZ is calling for the government to
* review and tighten codes around television advertising, billboards and outdoor advertising, including pre-vetting
* review the classification of music videos and video games specifically with regard to sexualised imagery
* review the censorship standards governing magazine covers and content that may be inappropriate for children
* review the codes around television programming during family viewing periods
* enable filtering of the internet to protect children from unwanted exposure to sexual material either online, on social networking sites, or on their mobile phones.
Full report

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