Let children be children

25 AUGUST 2009

In a world saturated with advertising and media using sex to sell, a Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic has warned of the long-term risks for children. Dr Emma Rush, Associate Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences says companies are increasingly marketing their products to children to capture the children’s allegiance to their brands. However she says some products, like padded bras for eight-year-old girls, are completely inappropriate.”Big companies make products to make money, but the clothing, magazines, toys and games are becoming increasingly sexualised,” said Dr Rush. The CSU academic is a contributing author to a new book, Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls. The book deals with the sexualisation and objectification of girls and women in the media, popular culture and society. “Experts are seeing psychological damage in younger and younger children and a rise in behaviours such as low self-esteem, depression, self-harms and eating disorders. The children should be out in the world having fun. They should be constructing themselves, rather than squashing into a narrow stereotype,” said Dr Rush. “As adults we have responsibilities for children’s health and development. It is wrong to think of premature sexualisation as simply a matter of taste; the fact is that it has risks for children.”

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