Expert Opinions

Expert Opinions

"1/3 of 8yr olds are not happy with their weight and shape. Nearly 1 in 4 are dieting. I think there is a growing concern amongst eating disorder professionals around the world that children at this age are being subjected to increasingly sophisticated and adult messages. Messages acquainting thinness with success - sexualised images - presented to children at an age when really they're psychologically unable to understand those images."

Adolescent Psychiatrist, Dr Sloane Madden. Westmead Childrens Hospital, NSW

"If the message is that you should be sexy and grown up, instead of being a kid - then kids aren't practicing and learning how to be whole human beings that will actually make them into great adults. They are instead only imitating adult behaviour, without understanding it - and that's very dangerous for their development".

Amanda Gordon. President, Australian Psychology Society. (Former)

"I tell parents, 'don't buy sexy clothes for your children'. There's nothing smart about having a 4 yr old in a little bra. It's time for adults to take a stand, for parents to take a stand and say 'this is what we want for our children' - instead of children saying 'this is what I want for me".

Amanda Gordon. President, Australian Psychology Society. (Former)

"There is a concern that we are sending very conflicting messages to people. On the one hand, we're telling people that children need to be protected - that paedophilia is regarded as one of the most heinous crimes - on the other hand we allow advertisers and marketers to present images and saturate our media with images that might be sexually arousing to some paedophiles in the community."

Dr Louise Newman. Director, Institute of Psychiatry.

"Childhood is shrinking. We are exposing children to adult concepts that they can't manage, that are developmentally inappropriate, and I think we are going to pay the cost for this in a range of emotional and psychological costs down the track."

Dr Joe Tucci. Australian Childhood Foundation.

"Sex is being used to grab the attention of not just adults but kids as well. If the multibillion dollar 'tween' market is any indication, it's a sales pitch that's working".

Dr Karen Brooks. Senior Lecturer Communication & Cultural Studies, University of Sunshine Coast.

"It is folly for us to pretend that the trend towards sexualisation of childrens fashion and advertising is harmless. It is part of a cynical but savage fight for our spending dollar, and the earlier children are pressed into thinking sexually, the earlier they will act sexually".

Rob Robertson. Ministerial co-ordinator, Australia. Setting Captives Free.

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