The debate on media and children is a tricky situation to discuss, there so many issues and concerns that typical fall around the idea of children and the media. Those being the concerns of the representation of children in the media which can cause ‘moral panic’ in today society including:
- -The alleged sexualisation of children in the media
- -The commercial exploitation of children
- -Sexuality and the media
- -Art and pornography
- -And just the normal debates about childhood.
In this blog post I will be focusing on the issues of “moral panic” the idea that children are being represented in the media in the forms of sexualisation and raising the question whether the media is to be blamed for children losing the innocence of childhood? Today children have access to all sorts of media and technology, which is beneficial for commercialism, which is getting the blame for the loss and corruption of childhood innocence (Thierer 2010). Thierer (2010) explains that as commercialism increases and as more children see adverts, TV shows and magazine children are seen as ‘fair game’ for marketers. Research suggests that an average of 250,000 American children and adolescents are at risk of commercial exploration each year stated by Estes and winter 2001 (cited in Bang &Baker & carpinteri & Hasselt 2014,p.1).
But what of sexulisation of children, do you think that society is taking this to far?
“Sexualisation of children is typically understood to mean that children are depicted or treated as sexual objects or that sexuality is being inappropriately imposed on children through media, marketing or products directed at them that encourages them to act in adult sexual ways” (Commissioner for children and young people, 2012). In the UK it is stated by Commissioner for children and young people (2012) that there are guidelines that marketer and the media have to follow including that children should be shown in natural poses in a childlike environment, these guidelines also make it clear that images on clothing marketed to children must be age appropriate and that sexually suggestive, derogative or demanding slogans must not be featured. But what do you think? Do you agree with the above guidelines should children just be shown as children. For me I must agree, children these day are being exploited and encourage to buy, think and even dress in more of an adult way, to produce a certain image or representation to their market. According to The Sydney Morning Herald (Reist, 2012) children are absorbing distorted messages about their bodies, sexuality and gender roles because of the advertising standards “its been called the adultification of children, where sexualizing messages combine with the commercialization of childhood to constrict the childhood years”(Reist, 2012) For example sexualized adverts that target children.
Here are few example or sexualized adverts:
This advertisement of Dakota Fanning was banned to be published for being depicted as “sexualizing children”. By the provocative placement of the perfume bottle and the age of the model. But even the heading: Oh Lola! Seems to be adding to the whole sexualisation of this image. What do you think? Is society going over the top with this image? Or do you agree that the advert for marc Jacobs perfume is indeed playing with the idea of sex sells.
Here is another image of a young girl who is being sexualized in an advert. She is Cleary seen dressed in an sexy adult dress, the fact that they chose to show her sitting in this position exposing the cut in the dress which shows off her thighs and legs, is partially seen with adult model poses. But should a child be depicted in this way? Or should we be trying to make them look more like normal children, innocent?
As Always, all the best
- Reist , MT 2012, ‘Sex sells , but we’re selling out our children’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9th April, viewed 15th April 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/sex-sells-but-were-selling-out-our-children-20120408-1wj7e.html
- Commissioner for Children and young people 2012, issue paper Sexualisation of children, Commissioner for children and young people Western Australia, viewed 15th April 2015, http://www.ccyp.wa.gov.au/files/resource/Issues%20Paper%20-%20Sexualisation%20of%20Children.pdf
- Thierer, A 2010, Kids, Media,Commercialism and Moral Panic, The technology liberation front, weblog post , 7th June ,viewed 15th April 2015, < http://techliberation.com/2010/06/07/kids-media-commercialism-moral-panic/>.
- Bang, Brandy; Baker, Paige L.; Carpinteri, Alexis; Van Hasselt, Vincent B. 2013, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, e-book, accessed 15 April 2015, <http://UOW.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1538943>.