The Home Office has published an independent review into the sexualisation of young people, conducted by psychologist Linda Papadopoulos.
The report warns that children are being increasingly exposed to sexual imagery through advertising, music videos, computer games, magazines and some children’s clothing lines.
From the BBC:
Unless sexualisation is accepted as harmful, we will miss an important opportunity… to broaden young people’s beliefs about where their values lies,” said Dr Papadopoulos, a psychologist. The report’s 36 recommendations include calling for games consoles, mobile phones and some computers to be sold with parental controls already switched on.”
Other recommendations include banning “sexualised” music videos before the TV watershed, making digital literacy a compulsory part of the curriculum from age 5, and labelling airbrushed images:
Evidence suggests that even brief exposure to airbrushed images can lead to acute body dissatisfaction. To help combat this, efforts to raise levels of media literacy should be accompanied by initiatives aimed at encouraging society to take a more critical and questioning approach to the harmful perpetuation of unrealistic ideals. I therefore recommend the introduction of a system of ratings symbols for photographs to show the extent to which they have been altered. This is particularly critical in magazines targeting teen and pre-teen audiences.
[Sexualisation of Young People Review by Dr Linda Papadopoulos, page 83]
The BBC, in reporting the findings, indulges in a little airbrushing of its own:
Both Labour and the Conservatives are examining the issues.
Jo, along with Lynne Featherstone, met with the Advertising Standards Authority this week to discuss the use of airbrushed images, and told Lib Dem Voice,
The Government has been dismissive of Liberal Democrat proposals to tackle harmful airbrushing, but now the Home Office’s own review shows that this is issue which needs urgent action.
Pressure on children to conform to unhealthy body image ideals is something many parents are extremely concerned about, and we welcome Dr. Papadopoulous’ report. When it comes to children, airbrushed adverts aimed at them need to be banned.
We will be holding a body image debate in Parliament on 8th March to take this important campaign forward.
You can read the full report: Sexualisation of Young People Review by Dr Linda Papadopoulos here.