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Parents are too often complicit in the sexualisation and commercialisation of children

(22 Posts)
ivykaty44 Sat 25-Jun-11 07:50:05

After the mn "let children be children" is Reg right in that parents are to blame and not just the shops?

I hadn't known that if a child of 8 lies to get facebook by the time they are 13 fb will think they are 18 and thus start advertising adult only adverts, there are nearly a million children under 12 on facebook and they may well have lied and get inappropriate advertising at a much early date due to their own parents allowing them to lie

ivykaty44 Sat 25-Jun-11 07:51:15

link to article

Goblinchild Sat 25-Jun-11 07:52:41

Parents set the rules that young children live by.
Other factors are also present, but I do think that the parent is usually the key influence, and overwhelmingly responsible.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 25-Jun-11 08:07:50

This is rather why I don't agree with the 'Let Children Be Children' campaign. There is some responsibility on retailers, tv/film-makers, game-makers etc. It's right that items aimed at adults are kept out of the reach of children, shown late at night or flagged with age ratings. But, ultimately, it's down to parents to supervise what their child has access to. Whether that's inappropriate clothing, websites & tv-programmes or things like alcohol or cigarettes, it's us (parents) setting the standard.

Alcohol is a good example, actually. Legally it can't be purchased below the age of 18 and shops are penalised if they are found to be doing so. But that doesn't stop certain parents buying it for their children...

mummyosaurus Sat 25-Jun-11 08:19:56

Lots of parents are too complicit.

But it is made harder to make a stand when inappropriate marketing and products are in your child's face, when "every other child in the y2 class is allowed on facebook".

There are always going to be a few parents too stupid to understand why playboy tops on a four year old, unrestricted access to computers and bra tops for 5 year olds and such like are a bad idea.

Of course all parents should make a stand, they should have more sense and stand up to the organisations making money out of selling utter crap to our kids. It's blatantly obvious that lots don't, or it wouldn't all still be available, and that's why we need the campaign.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 25-Jun-11 08:29:18

Then the people we should be 'standing up to', surely, are the irresponsible parents still buying the products rather than the organisations selling products? Point fingers at adults buying alcohol, cigarettes or tarty clothing for their children. Put the blame where it fairly lies..

Goblinchild Sat 25-Jun-11 08:41:45

Parental responsibility? Shocking thought.
I'd back more parenting classes or support for those whose children are challenging them, and don't know what to do, or those that don't understand why some of their parenting decisions are considered inappropriate by others.
So, help to be a parent who is in charge, not just removing all the ikky stuff.
How does that teach the child to discriminate and make good choices for positive reasons?
They will just come to it when they are older but no wiser.

mummyosaurus Sat 25-Jun-11 09:26:13

I agree with you. I can't argue. Parents should stand up to it. I have DS 4 and DD 6 and at the moment think I would take a very firm stand and not let them on facebook until they were 13. But we have posts on mumsnet about putting computers in 4 year olds bedrooms. My DN has had a pc in her room since she was 5. Many parents are burying their heads and welcoming in the "electronic babysitters". Unaware and uninterested in the many dangers. I'm pretty sure these kids will be on facebook well before they are 13.

But I wonder how we are going to get the parents who think giving a 4 year old a laptop and buying the rubbish is ok to parenting classes?

I'd go to a class on strategies about challenging children, and how to over come "pester power" but I have a reasonable understanding of the issues and won't let DD (age 6) have high heels or wear bras. Importantly I think, I don't let her watch the rubbish on TV which would put the ideas in her head. But the older she gets, the harder it will be and the more parents of her peers give in the more pressure I will be under. Will I let her be the only 8 year old in the class still wearing a vest rather than a bra top?

Organisations are only interested in profit, they pay very clever people who specialise in marketing to children to make them into life long consumers of crap. This needs to be countered and it is sad that it will have to be done by government intervention, imposing regulations, restricting advertising or society will suffer.

cory Sat 25-Jun-11 10:08:21

Imo it's not an either-or; it's like one of those home-school discussions where it seems pretty obvious to me that you are going to get the best results if school and home are singing from the same hymn sheet. Or in this case, society and home.

When I worry about over-sexualised clothing in children it is not because I am such a helpless feeble little creature that I cannot control what my own dd wears or not. It is because I think that however modest she is personally she will be less safe in a society where adults and young people are encouraged to see children in a sexual context.

The same reason I dislike a lot of porn: I don't want my dd to grow up in a society where that attitude to women is normalised.

Goblinchild Sat 25-Jun-11 10:10:07

It also depends on where you draw the line of disapproval too if you are talking about banning stuff or campaigning for it not to be sold.
<Thinking Bible Belt Morality>

Goblinchild Sat 25-Jun-11 10:18:41

I'd like to see parents more empowered though, so that if they felt uncomfortable about something and said 'no' they then didn't then give in just because of pester power, or because it's just easier, or because they don't want the child to be upset because they've laid down a rule.
Seeing children in an inappropriate sexual context is always bad, but so are many of the public's attitudes to men, and their relationships with children. There are far too many men uncomfortable with playing, interacting, cuddling and generally relating to girl children even their own.
There are far too many casual comments made about children that use adult comparisons, and far too many giggles at children behaving like adults rather than surprise and shock. Dancing to music with raunchy moves anyone?

MoreBeta Sat 25-Jun-11 10:24:00

mummyosauraus - I agree.

"But we have posts on mumsnet about putting computers in 4 year olds bedrooms. My DN has had a pc in her room since she was 5. Many parents are burying their heads and welcoming in the "electronic babysitters". Unaware and uninterested in the many dangers. I'm pretty sure these kids will be on facebook well before they are 13."

Our DCs are only allowed to use computers in the same room as us. However when I went to the DS1 secondary school induction day the teachers were all saying the children should have mobile phones, telling worried parents that 'you can't hold back the tide of technology'. It was clear that teachers have thrown in the towel. They are all on Facebook themselves which is the work of the devil in my view.

I asked specifically if the school had a secure intranet that was monitored so pupils and parents could communicate in a secure environent. They said thay had never thought of it. In fact the entire school network is open to anyone with a password, no monitoring, everyone has their own home email. Files can be passed around in the school without any way of controlling it. This is a private school that advertises how vigilant it is on cyber bullying and has supposedly strict rules about inappropriate sexual behaviour between pupils. They have no way of controlling anything the pupils are doing on the internet outside maybe some sort of automatic web browsing control software.

cory Sat 25-Jun-11 10:39:51

I do agree with you, really, Goblin; I wouldn't want some kind of lowest-common-denominator-ban-on-anything-that-might-give-rise-to-a-sensational-thoughts-in-somebody-with-pronounced-tendencies-that-way.

Goblinchild Sat 25-Jun-11 10:41:32

Stopped a child at the school fair who was humping one of the guy ropes to a marquee, grinding and thrusting and singing a song.
His family were puzzled, they thought it was an amusing show. He's 6.

cory Sat 25-Jun-11 10:41:37

Have to admit I could never see the problem of padded bras for the older junior child:

a) a well developed child may well need them for comfort

b) they are not exactly on display, are they?

As for computers in bedroom, it depends on age and general trustworthiness of the child. My dd spends a lot of time bedridden with chronic health problems; if she is to get an education at all she has to have that computer by her bedside and I have to trust her with it. And that includes leaving her alone in the house or there would be no money to pay the mortgage. That is another thing: sometimes safety depends on parents knowing when they can trust a child.

Goblinchild Sat 25-Jun-11 10:44:35

Padded bra means your nipples don't show through when you are cold.
Parents need to know how to put appropriate security settings on computers if the child is allowed unsupervised access, but many of them don't and still let young children use technology that they don't understand themselves.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 25-Jun-11 11:13:16

" it will have to be done by government intervention, imposing regulations, restricting advertising "

The most heavily regulated, legislated and advertising-restricted commercially available goods on the shelves today are cigarettes and alcohol. And yet we have a rising problem of alcohol abuse and alchohol-related illnesses in the comparatively young and the amount of young people taking up smoking shows no sign of diminishing. Banning, imposing regulations and so forth are not a magic wand

ivykaty44 Sat 25-Jun-11 16:15:43

I do trust my child to use the pc, it is the grooming of my child that i don't want and that has nothing to do with trust. It has been found that when a child turns on a webcam and a bedroom in the background is seen a person of ill repute or not nice intentions will continue to groom, whereas if they see a sitting room or kitchen in the background they sloop away as they know the child is not in the bedroom aware from other members of the family. You can't make a child unnaive and why should we want to take away innocence to

fuzzpigFriday Sat 25-Jun-11 16:31:45

I'm really glad about the LCBC campaign, some of the clothes on sale sicken me. However I'm not convinced it'll make a massive difference - parents who really want to dress their DCs up like that will just find a way round it, even if by choosing skirts in a smaller size etc.

It'd be ridiculous to blame the shops for all of it - you don't have to buy the stuff do you.

cory Sat 25-Jun-11 17:53:00

ivykaty, I would have thought that teaching your child not to use webcam and show their home to strangers is a simple matter of discipline- why on earth should they be doing that?

I don't want to preserve my children's innocence to the point where they think handing out details about themselves to complete strangers is a good thing to do.

Much easier to specify what precisely they have the computer for (internet research, word processing, games) and make it clear that any abuses will result in immediate confiscation.

maypole1 Sat 25-Jun-11 19:14:12

Totally agree with the op, the thing that bugs me is people trying to legislate for inept parenting why do we need to ban padded bras for 8 year olds if no one buys them they will remove them of their own accord

People who are determined to take their children to see every film they possibly can that is rated above their age when their are more than plenty of films for children out.

People who think it's a good thing to take their child to a Katie price or only way is essex signing, its just shocking they watching those shows in the first place

And parents who are full steam ahead with allowing their child on the pc with no restriction siting oh their well behaved

People need to get a bloody grip

Even in my own family I have to explain to my own sister why I don't want my 11 year old playing grand theft with her son who is 9 shock

Its not the shops and telly corrupting our children its parents

I think to many want to be their childs best mate epically on nm some of the threads make me weep
One thread- shall I buy a computer for my 4 year olds room gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

ivykaty44 Sat 25-Jun-11 21:29:33

So I taught my child not to use the pc in the bedroom - simple rule webcam is to be used only downstairs in the lounge - not a problem to set rules for safety based on advise about pc not going into the bedroom, I can see what my child is doing on the pc and if she is doing something inadvertently wrong.

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