What is Sexualisaton?
"Exposing children to inappropriate sexualised imagery in a bid to sell products and make profit."
Kids Free 2B Kids
"A person's value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behaviour, to the exclusion of other characteristics."
"A person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness with being sexy."
"A person is sexually objectified - that is, made into a thing for others' sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making."
American Psychological Association
Direct Sexualisation - How children are portrayed or posed in advertising. Indirect Sexualisation - What children are exposed to in their environment, including advertising intended for an adult audience.
Childhood is recognised as a time of innocence, playfulness, fun and spontaneity. Children should be able to develop at their own pace, without undue pressure and influence from mass media marketing and advertising.
Parents don't necessarily want to wrap their kids up in cotton wool, but most do want to provide an environment in which children can develop to their full potential: that means maturing physically, psychologically and sexually at age appropriate stages.
Recent international and Australian studies have highlighted the significant impact that the sexualisation of children in advertising and marketing campaigns is having on children's physical and psychological health.
To make it worse, the sexualisation of kids in the media appears to be on the increase.
Many members of the community are deeply concerned about the trend.
"Children continue to be exposed to a whole range of sexual imagery that normalizes sexuality for them, and in that process, I think there are some long term consequences to children and to childhood in Australia."
"Sexualised images of children are part of an overall marketing push to sell to children. It makes sex a focus of interest for children at a time when it should not be. Children are defined as a target market who can be sold to directly using adult strategies. There is little recognition of the impact of such constant marketing on children."
Dr Joe Tucci. Australian Childhood Foundation.
"The standards in the media and advertising are too low and out of touch with the general community."
Bernie Geary. Child Safety Commissioner.
"Adults must protect very young kids from the notion that sex sells - products and the self. If they do, they'll be given the time and space to create solid foundations and nurture kids imaginations and identities; ones that aren't contingent upon sex, looks or material possessions".
Assoc Professor Karen Brooks. Senior Lecturer Communication & Cultural Studies, University of Sunshine Coast.
"This is clearly a serious issue for children and for parents and it is a real worry. There is a lot of evidence that this could be harming children, and if it is, then we need to act."
Lynne Wannan. Chairwoman Victorian Childrens Council.