Julie Gale, the founder of Kids Free 2B Kids, a website dedicated to letting children develop to their full potential; without exposure to sexualised imagery before they are developmentally ready to process it, recently spoke to the TODAY program on Channel 9 about the battle many parents face when trying to protect their children from the constant bombardment of the media and increasing pressure for children to grow up years before they are ready to.
Gone are the days when children spend their time in the innocent world of make believe and dress up. Today the sexualisation of kids in the media appears to be on the increase and it is having a significant impact on children’s physical and mental health with the rates of anxiety and depression on the increase.
Julie Gale told TODAY “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.”
Julie said parents need to have conversations with their children about the media messages they are seeing every day on TV, reading on Facebook, hearing in songs and seeing on the internet.
She said “As parents, we need to know about the video games our kids are playing, what they’re listening to, watching, and Internet sites they’re visiting.”
Children as young as 7 years old face the pressure of appearing to be “hot and sexy”. They pin their whole identity on this idea without really understanding it or the consequences of the actions that go with it.
Julie told the story of a 10 year old girl who created a Youtube channel and webcam – with no supervision – and posted up to 30 clips that were highly sexual. Her parents had no idea.
Tips to protect Tweens:
If you have little kids – remember you’re still the boss.
NO computers in bedroom.
NO access to webcams.
NO Facebook for all of primary school.
Teach your daughter how they are dressed reflects how they are judged.
Monitor what music is played at home and in cars.
Talk to your children.
Tips to protect teenagers:
Remember – It’s called World Wide Web for a reason!
If you want to keep it private – write it on paper.
Only put online what you would be happy be with Mum or Dad reading/seeing