There has been a lot of concern about hyper sexualization or early sexualization of kids, especially girls. Toy marketers have been blamed for pushing sexy products, such as the classic Barbie and the new Bratz dolls, to children as young as four years old. Media images also always portray women in revealing clothes and come-hither poses that project the idea that women are just sexual objects.
With the past moving away from the present at such a furious pace due to the Internet and other media, children are becoming more exposed to such images and are becoming mature at an earlier age. Kids in makeup and heels and gyrating to lewd music have somewhat become acceptable in many households.
The American Psychological Association has said that this early sexualization is a cause of concern, and parents should work hard to protect their children from such ideas from cultural influences.
How can we keep our children’s innocence a while longer? Here are some ideas.
1. Let them play outside
Growing up with lots of gadgets can be fun, but it can also deprive kids of enough playtime that should be filling up their childhood. Instead of filling their schedule with classes after school, give them breathing space to play, think, and explore.
2. De-emphasize fashion
There are now so many cute and lovely clothes for kids that little ones are becoming their mums’ fashion plates. Oftentimes, these clothes are kiddie versions of adult clothes, with plunging necklines, high hemlines and even high heels. We should dress children appropriately and comfortably and seek comfort instead.
Children should always be playing (except in special occasions, of course!) and should therefore be dressed in clothes that they can run around in.
3. Screen what they watch
Exposure to images of skimpily clad women and kissing couples open the eyes of children to things that they are not yet ready to see. Screen what they watch, as even topics of popular pre-teen shows already revolve around relationships, fashion, and other themes for much older viewers.
Assign TV days when you can monitor what your kids are watching. Or better yet, just buy videos of age-appropriate shows.
4. Screen what they read
Though some kids can read books beyond their years, it doesn’t mean that they are ready to read those with content not meant for them. Be careful of what you leave lying around as curious kids can pick up books and read what they are not supposed to be reading yet.
Children’s minds need to be protected from a culture that wants to sell the idea of sex at an early age. Be mindful of the influences that you let your children get exposed to and work on keeping their innocence a little while longer than what society dictates.