According to the CEO of Prism Communications, “they aren’t children so much as what I like to call `evolving consumers”.
So many times, when I talk about my work, parents say the same things to me: I don’t need to worry about that yet, my child is only *insert age under 13….
If I could get every parent to understand just ONE thing about their child in regards to sex, love & self esteem, it is this:
And the marketing companies are not afraid to use it, on YOUR CHILD.
Hyper-sexualised media is used to sell everything from soft drinks to sports cars. Messages about body image standards, relationships, sexual agency, consent (or the lack of it) gender roles & sexual decision making are subtly woven through the majority of movies, cartoons, campaigns, product placements & ads.
When it is estimated that the average child will watch up to 5000 hours of TV by the time they start school, you had better believe they are getting messages about sex, gender, self esteem & relationships.
Experts say that children don’t understand persuasive intent until they are eight or nine years old and that it is unethical to advertise to them before then. According to the Consumers Union (US), “Young children, in particular, have difficulty in distinguishing between advertising and reality in ads, and ads can distort their view of the world.”
Richard Mizerski, an Australian professor of marketing, observes; “their cognitive structures are beginning to form and they are most sensitive to external influences.”
Who do you want to teach your child about sex, love, relationships?
What messages do you want them to receive about their bodies, their gender rights?
It is never too early to start.
Let yours be the loudest voice in this noise.