High heels, sexy slogans and raunchy lyrics… just a few of the sexualised products children encounter every day. But the Bailey Review, out today, could help put the brakes on the speed at which children become adults.
Am I turning into a ‘prude’? Recently the husband and I have been complaining about some of the inappropriate things bombarded at the kids, particularly our daughter.
So I’m really glad that it’s come under the spotlight with the Bailey Review from the Mothers’ Union.
Are children growing up too quickly?
The report, to be published later today, looked into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children and covers the internet, clothes, television and advertising.
It’s expected to announce that children are being pushed into an adult world too soon, with retailers promising to stop selling items like high-heel shoes, underwired bras and sheer tops for children high up the agenda.
Some strong recommendations about advertising are also said to be backed by David Cameron. These include banning any billboard advertising with sexy imagery away from schools and ‘making it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material’ across all media. Plus, children will be stopped from being paid to promote products in schools or on social networking sites.
Girls being targeted the most
As I have one of each – a girl and a boy – I’ve seen the difference between the advertising that tries to entice the kids to extract cash from us. With boys it’s mainly sporty stuff but it’s really disappointing that the industry seems to think that girls are just in a rush to grow up.
The clothes are a real eye-opener. If you’re dragged around a shop looking for an outfit for a 10-year-old girl you will definitely come across slogans on T-shirts which are designed to be suggestive in a sexual nature.
Then there’s the music with songs telling you all sorts in lyrics. My daughter will happily sing along and, fortunately, doesn’t bother to interpret the message behind the words.
Let’s move forward positively
Now I’m not going to moan about the good old days, because I would not want to inflict one of my mother’s home-knitted scratchy jumpers on anyone and I do think it’s good to have more choice than just the kids’ department at C&A. But the industry should be a little more creative about the messages they use to try and market at young girls. We should all protect our children, not just parents, as surely it’s in all our interests.
I’m just not convinced that trying to squeeze very young girls into high-heels and inappropriate clothes is the right way forward so I would love the advertising industry to work a little harder. Let’s hope the recommendations from this report make it as far as the high street.