Sunday, 7 August 2011

Supernanny, Sexualisation & Protecting Your Children

Reg Bailey, chief executive of the mother’s union, will be publishing a report on how to protect children from “sexualisation”. Many U.K retailers have agreed to stop selling inappropriate clothing to youngsters. The report will touch upon things like covering up sexy magazine covers on store shelves and restricting steamy music videos to older teens and later viewing hours.

                Super Nanny’s, Jo Frost, said this “Parents voices need to be heard and respected. It is everyone's responsibility in society to protect our children. Outrageous, sexualised imagery, inappropriate retail for our young, the list is shamelessly endless. Our children are being subjected to deplorable advertising and media making it hard for parent’s everyday to control these surrounding images day in and day out that they are exposed to. Rules need to be put in place, boundaries to be made. Steps aggressively need to be taken to morally do the right thing to protect the innocence of our children today.”

I agree with this issue 100%. It is why I write uplifting kids and young adult books. I have ten nieces and nephews and the stuff they watch, they buy and are subjecting too are shocking. Now, I am not a goody two shoes. In fact I think parents and the government have got things wrong in some respect. I grew up in the 80’s and loved a show called “Dragonball Z”, which is no longer showed in the U.K, as it is said to be too violent.

Now, this show was about a kind hearted martial artist saving people and protecting the world, it gave messages of if you work hard enough you can achieve anything, help those that can’t help themselves, always do the right thing, put other people’s needs before your own, take care of your family. It inspired me to go into martial arts, which I still do to this day.

So, that is banned, but Nicole Scherzinger dancing half naked, no, she wore less than that at 8am on TV, is allowed? Where are the positive messages in that? I grew up on movies like Never Ending Story, Labyrinth, Willow, Witches, E.T and these really amazing movies with dark themes of losing loved ones, being lost, being alone, but things people connect with and actually have to face.
They showed you how to overcome these problems and keep moving forward. These days kids programs are pretty dumb. Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter do not count, as they are across the board stories/movies for adults and kids. I mean you look at the standard of kid’s movies today, what lessons do they teach?

I am 100% behind the Bailey report. I think there is too much sex and violence. I am out and about promoting my book and the amount of horror, erotica and romance books seem to easily out weight kids/teen books. Now, I am not having a go at those authors, they don’t write for kids, but I am saying society as a whole has allowed sexualisation to become an everyday thing.

It wasn’t like that 50 years ago. My only issue is that you shouldn’t be scared of what you teach children, but you shouldn’t let them grow up too soon. I don’t like the fact my nephews have cell phones, laptops and things like this. When I was their age I was out playing man hunt with my mates, playing football, going on fun adventures with my dogs and just having fun.

I did these things because kids are impressionable. We all know this. I would watch Dragonball Z, no, earlier than that. I would watch Thunder Cats, He-Man or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and be like “Thunder Cats are Go!” and me and my mates would go be thunder cats for an hour. Today kids programs are dumb downed, even many of the books I read my nephews are silly. They are not inspiring, they are not motivational, they don’t teach you important lessons, but not lessons directly.

You learn by watching your heroes and going “Wow, I want to do that. I want to be like him/her.” These days children’s heroes are...? Buzz Lightyear is a given! But you go from Buzz, hero of an innocent child, and then you have young boy/girl who should be running around like idiot suddenly want to grow up aged 11 or 12 and start looking at people like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and what not. They get obsessed with body, looks, appearance, when they should be having fun.

I think this Bailey Report can only be a good thing. I made a conscious decision when I wrote my kids/teen book that I wanted to tell a clean, exciting, uplifting and positive story that would inspire kids to think for themselves and be what they want to be. I wrote a book about a wonderful puppy and this loveable granddad type figure that set out on a journey to save their friends, they go on adventures, learn things about their friends, themselves and about helping others.

I wanted to do a throwback to those awesome 80’s movies that inspired me to go into martial arts, to become a writer, to take care of my family and to be the best possible person I can be. These are the messages that we should be setting out for our kids, which is why I 100% support the Bailey report.

                I appreciate you taking the time to read.


  1. I agree with you completely. It was a struggle to keep my children as children and not have them grow up too soon. We played outside, did silly fun things, jigsaw puzzles, board games, make-believe in the park. We watched Shining Time Station and played with trains.

    It is my experience that people who are denied childhood never grow up. They are always searching for that special, magical protected time and never find it. Dragon Ball Z was big in our house, too, as was Wishbone, the Discovery Channel and Power Rangers (boring but positive). Most kids movies have adult themes, which I point out in my movie reviews. I write a movie review column for parents and one point I always stress are the messages in the movies.
    Let your kids be kids, protect them, take care of them so they can become responsible adults and protect the next generation.

  2. Simon Smith-Wilson7 August 2011 at 06:54

    lol, don't get me started on power rangers. Me and my friends would end up arguing who gets to be the red ranger! (It was usually me, although they called me pink ranger, lol.) "We can't have three red rangers!"

    I don't think children grow up too quickly these days. I have a lot of nieces and nephews, the babies are really cute, toddlers are funny, when they are little they want to go on adventures with the dogs and play trains, cars, climb things, but then you get to about 11-12 and they are not interested. The thing is I was interested in those thing when I was 16 or 17. I wasn't immature, I just lived having fun, but kids are so caught up with video games, internet (laptops and cell phones) and they seem to be given more responsibility, as they act older, but they are still kids.

    I think it is society becoming to relaxed and letting people get away with more on T.V and so on. This Bailey report I hope will be taken seriously and be a good thing for children.

  3. Simon Smith-Wilson7 August 2011 at 06:54

    Doh, that should read. "I do think children grow up too quickly these days."

  4. Yes, I do think kids grow up too fast. I have 4 and one who is 13 going on fifteen maturity-wise. However, in her case it's not in a sexual way. Sure she talks about boys and who is cute and who likes whom at school, BUT she is so much more sophisticated than I was at her age. She's much more savvy, and I attribute that in part to me - her mother. We often sit and talk together where she lets out her struggles with her classmates. She cries to me when a boy is mean, I help her see that he's just a kid, and that one day it will be different and that there is LOTS of time for her to find someone who really matters. We can't shield them from these things forever because as much as we don't want them to feel these things - they do. Pretending children aren't growing, sexual beings is also wrong. There is as much damage done to kids when a parent or caregiver denies them those feelings or tells them they are wrong as watching too much violence or sex on TV.

    Being a good parent, means turning the TV off and not letting kids watch those shows or play those video games for hours on end. There are as many bad programs out there as good ones. My kids have special places on our property where they go to make forts, they have a treehouse, they include the dog in their games, and they ride their bike. Parents need to value those things as part of childhood for children to value them too. When I see how smart my kids are, I think it's due in part to how open I am to discussing any topic with them and at their age level. Nothing is ever taboo because they are curious. It makes for interesting discussions sometimes! But they're comfortable with me and I'd rather they learn from me than the TV or friends who know less than they do. The more information kids get from their parents is what will allow them to make smart decisions when they're older.

  5. Simon Smith-Wilson8 August 2011 at 06:55

    Hey Kellie, that is a really great reply. I fully agree with you. Parents have said similiar things to me on twitter & facebook and I don't believe in the "Big Brother" state, where they dictate what we do and all that. I think you are right about saying when enough is enough with the T.V, Video Games and Internet, but I think the main issue with the bailey report is the fact that at say 8am in the morning you shouldn't have to switch off the T.V because of the sexual content on display.

    I totally agree about not shielding children, but I do think children these days are allowed to grow up too early. I mean 12 year olds facing issues that I faced when 16, which is a massive gap really. I think the bailey report is trying to highlight the sexualisation in society, which if not there or not always in your face, children might stay children instead of trying to be something they are not. By copying the images upon T.V.

  6. What a great post! I am so scared for my grandchildren. I am constantly trying to redirect them from "garbage" tv when they are with us!

  7. Simon Smith-Wilson9 August 2011 at 04:32

    Hi Doreen, it is the same for me. I have so many nieces and nephews, but they are all different ages. So, whilst I am taking care of the 1 and 3 year old, the 17 year old is flicking through the music channels, and some of the things on there during the day are really shocking.

    I think one thing that surprised me was at 2pm the other day, I was trying to find a movie for the kids to watch and we were going through the movie channels. There was several kids movies, a few black and white ones, a couple of cowboy films, some teen romance and then Aracnophobia. It happened to be the scene where the spider jumps on the guys hands and they were so scared. Switched T.V in world record time. This film is now classed as PG, when I was in my teens the movie was shown after 9pm. It is just little things like this that need to be tightened up.

  8. I love this blog. I agree. Here in the U.S. the shows are ridiculous and the radio stations are just as bad. And of course one of America's top exports is mass media production of the pop culture. Many don't look for the base of a problem in the generations, usually band aids, and most don't see how much influence tv has on children. Many do, but with all the new social lifestyles that are different from old traditional nuclear families parents tend to let kids sit in front of the tv or play video games so the parents have time to themselves. Parents need to step in, however, for those many many kids without parents or "guidance" from their own parents, people need to step in to change those things in society. 50% society, 50%home. And the changes in society need to recognize the problems from a holistic standpoint, taking everything into consideration like the long term effects which America is seeing now in the decline of Science and education in our youth. So many things to tackle but media is a huge supplier of this. This was an awesome blog.

  9. Simon Smith-Wilson1 September 2011 at 14:16

    Thank you, Gina. I think the big issue I have seen when talking about this blog with people is that people that don't have children or are not responsible for children, they don't care. It is a non-issue to them.

    I think this is such an important subject, but after talking to a fair few hundred people I don't see it changing any time soon. If it did I would be shocked because non-parents had such a strong negative reaction to this blog, which I think is pretty confusing because the issue seems such a no brainer.

    We must protect children, and let children be children.