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Growing Concerns about the Marketing of Childhood

04.13.11 Growing Concerns about the Marketing of Childhood

Have you read USA Today this week?  The newspaper features an important series called Saving Childhood, written by Liz Sabo.  The first set of articles was about an issue recently discussed here at MightyNest: early puberty in girls.  Next up was an article in which I was quoted about the parent pushback on the excessive marketing of childhood, particularly the early sexualization of young girls.  Here's a post I just put up about this on Non-Toxic Kids.  

So what is the problem? According to the article:

"It's a hard time to be raising children," says Susan Linn of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. "No generation of parents in history has dealt with this $17 billion (children's product) industry working day and night to bypass parents and target children with messages that undermine parental values."

The article features authors Peggy Oreinstein who recently wrote the excellent (and validating) book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and Jean Kilbourne, author of So Sexy, So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids.

Another newspaper has recently taken on this topic as well.  The Salt Lake Tribune published a story last week about the short lived padded push up bikini top for 7 and 8 year olds for sale (and then pulled)- called, Sexy ‘Lolita’ style for kids raising concerns.

Parents clearly are concerned about this growing problem-- the early sexualization and stereotyping of our children for profit. What do you think?  How do you limit your child's exposure inappropriate media?  

Here's the schedule for the Saving Childhood series:

All week Join @LizSzabo and experts to discuss raising kids and teens using the hashtag#kidschat on Twitter. Also, share your childhood photos here.

Monday: How parents can help their daughters stave off puberty -- and cope, when it arrives. Video and advice from families and experts

Tuesday: What can families do about marketing aimed at kids that promotes sexy images beyond their years? 

Wednesday: More than half of children in the USA have had a chronic disease such as asthma or obesity. What can communities do to help? 

Thursday : In just a generation, kids have largely stopped playing outside. 

Friday: Children are taking more tests but spending less time running around in unstructured play. Are kids being pushed to grow up too fast? Has childhood stopped being fun?

image:  Kurt Budliger Photography

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