This website was started as part of a grass roots campaign to apply pressure to the mass media, current cultural trends and manufacturers that are exposing children to inappropriate sexualised imagery as they try to sell products and make profit. Kids Free 2B Kids is in alliance with The Australian Council on Children and the Media. (Formerly Young Media Australia).
The American Psychological Association describes the sexualisation of someone as being when “a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness with being sexy” and “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.”
Kids Free 2B Kids is full of the latest information and research regarding the effect this kind of exposure has on children and young people including:
- How children are portrayed in advertising: What they wear, how they’re posed?
- The images children are exposed to in their environment: Billboards, magazines, internet, TV?
- The toys, dolls and games children play with?
- Exposure to adult sexual images that a child is not developmentally ready to absorb?
The website includes a section on how to complain to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) if you feel an advertisement, music video clip or free to air TV program features the sexualisation of young people.
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.
Julie Gale, founder and Director of Kids Free 2B Free believes that parents, carers and teachers try to provide an environment in which children can develop to their full potential. It is a time when children can be free to explore their world through play, spontaneity and innocent fun. Children should be able to grow at their own pace, without the pressure and influences of the mass media, marketing and advertisers.
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.
Dr Joe Tucci of the Australian Childhood Foundation said “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.”