Psychologist and author Steve Biddulph has slammed the early sexualisation of children, blaming the early exposure of children to sexualised material for the decline in the age of children becoming sexually active. He explains, “the maturity of children has grown in superficial ways – looking, acting and speaking like adults. But the deeper signs are not good. An increase of 15 per cent of girls having sex while still in high school in just the past five years. A significant cohort beginning sex at just 14 or 15.”

Julie Gale, Generation Next speaker and founder of Kids Free 2B Kids, agrees. “Young boys, nine, 10, 11, are constantly seeing objectified images of females in the public arena,” she says. “Then as teenagers they expect girls to act out in ways they weren’t, not so long ago.” She went on to describe how studies link early sexualisation to numerous disorders including depression, anxiety and body disorders.

Biddulph suggested a simple strategy to reduce the early sexualisation of our children: “not having TVs in children’s or teens’ bedrooms is probably the best single protection of their mental health.” Biddulph also called for the creation of a national body to monitor advertising and products aimed at children.

Writer Tristan Boyd, Editor Ramesh Manocha.