The latest craze of teenage partners sending each other naked photos as a means of inhibiting their partners sharing any other personal raunchy or sexualised photos with others, is extremely worrying as a parent. I can not believe that this is reality now. What will my beautiful innocent boys be exposed to when they are teenagers in a just over a decade, if this is what’s happening now? How can we stop this trend? What can we do to intervene in our own children’s lives so they are not exposed to the extreme sexualisation of EVERYTHING in popular culture? Even selling watches seems to warrant the need for illicit imagery.
There are some simple things I try and do even now to reduce (for now) the amount of violence and sex that will inevitably enter my little boy’s awareness at some point. I try not to let him watch violent cartoons or shows with sexual references (a pretty hard task, even on ABC 2). We instead watch “safe” DVDs like play school, In The Night Garden, Chuggington and Thomas (obviously the titles will change as he gets older). I also rarely listen to commercial radio stations, instead listening to my own choice of music which does not have so much innuendo and overt discussion about sex. I don’t buy magazines. My husband and I try hard not to swear or talk about inappropriate topics around little listening ears. The other day I had to slam the brakes on in the car to avoid a collision, to which I exclaimed “Dude!!”. I was horrified to hear a little parrot in the back seat yelling “Dude!!”, imagine if it had been a different word!
I also have friends who have daughters, who are very conscious about what they let them wear. This is not so much of a problem for boys, one reason I’m glad I don’t have any girls…yet. Have a look at Melinda Tankard-Reist’s website and her book “Getting Real” about the sexualisation of girls.
There is no way we can protect our children 100% from these things, but we can try to delay their discovery of vulgarity until they are a little more capable of dealing with it appropriately. Let’s hope, as united parents we may slow or even stop the tide flowing in and destroying our children’s innocence.