Recently there has been attention placed upon the over-sexualisation of children, with BBC 3 documentaries tackling bikinis, padded bras and high heeled shoes for children as young as 6.
I have to admit that before I watched these documentaries, I assumed that people were just being prudish and paranoid, but the shows did get me thinking of how many things children are exposed to today that they were not before.
Example one – pop music.
Now we all know that pop music is based on one saying ‘Sex sells’ and it seems that as sales drop, there’s been more and more sex added. The videos almost always contain clothing that doesn’t leave much to the imagination; if they’re wearing anything at all! There’s usually a mention of getting a guy or a girl, usually through a routine of hip-shaking and chest pumping choreography, and it doesn’t stop at the video.
For example, although not limited to, Rihanna’s award winning, multi-platinum album ‘Loud‘ which is sitting in my 7 year old cousin’s bedroom right now. Now I’ve heard some mothers say that as far as sex goes, this album is packed with it, to the point where they thought that there were only one or two songs on the album that could possibly be made into a single. One of it’s biggest chart topper is ‘S&M’ which Is just one song that young boys and girls know the words to all over the world.
Another example is a disco full of children around the age of 7 to 13 singing the lyrics ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it!’
Example 2 – The Disney Channel.
It seems the days of innocent fairy tales and colourful drawings are gone. Introducing the likes of Zac Efron with his 6 pack abs or Miley Cyrus in hot pants. Now the Disney Channel do seem to try and keep the flesh off show, and one kiss at the end of the film, or once in a series isn’t too much, but what about when the stars become 18 and start showing themselves in more ways than how talented they are…
Is this what young children are going to want to be? And can we blame these Disney stars for us wanting to grow up more quickly.
The facts are that we all develop at a different rate, and wanting to be mature and grown up at such a young age is becoming something teenagers in particular are reaching for, wanting to be an adult when they’re still a child. This can lead to sinister and dreadful consequences, such as rape or abuse, or something less abusive, but something that still affects you – the feeling that you lost out on childhood, and that you did things you were not ready for.
Example 3 – the pornography industry.
Now you’d hope that that in the same way as alcohol and smoking, this is something that the under 18 age group is exempt from, but we all know that that isn’t true of any of the above.
Studies have shown that the biggest consumers of free online pornography is the 12 – 17 age group, who can’t legally buy it.
There’s a common saying ‘The Internet is 90% porn, 9% spam, and less than 1% of anything remotely useful.’ so with so much content out there, there are a lot of stuff for younger people to come across.
So this is clear – it is out there, and young people are accessing it. The real question is, what are they looking at? Is it o.k to experiment with it and decide they do not like it in the privacy of their homes, or would we prefer that they went out into the real world and tried it out themselves; which as I said earlier, could lead to trouble.
And then there is the issue of older people and how they perceive young people. If a 16 year old in a tight skirt and high heels gets into a bar (and it does happen) and a 30 year old mistakes her for someone of age, can we instantly accuse that guy of being a bad person?
Example 4 – teenagers on television
There are several shows nowadays that depict characters under the age of 18 in relationships, having sex and appearing partly naked. Now although the actors are of age, can we be attracted to their characters?
It seems that with all influences of the media, the concern that young people want to grow up and experience adult things before they’re ready; and the harsh stigma attached to relationships involving under and over 16/18 year olds, etc, etc that sex doesn’t just sell, it can cause a LOT of trouble.
I’m raising all the issues for a simple reason, what can we do as Wicid.tv members (Ranging from 13 to 25 years old) to help this grey area?
Perhaps a series of articles for young people who are perhaps under the age of 16 about accessing and experimenting sex in a safe way (in a way that obviously doesn’t encourage them to have sex, but to be safe.)
When experimenting, reading stories of others experiences can seem like a less graphic way of accessing sex (yeah right, have you read a Mills and Boon novel?!) Or, chat rooms and dating sites that help people to connect to other people who can shed light to their questions, or offer to help them experiment – now that is a whole new bucket of dangers.
There’s a lot of advice on how to be safe on chatrooms, but maybe we could put a Wicid twist on them?
Obviously Wicid.tv is all about getting your voice heard and giving opinions, so put your thinking caps on, comment with your ideas, and if this sparked off an idea for an article, then get writing!
Thanks for reading, until next time, be creative, be heard, be yourself 🙂 x