Melbourne, Oct 6 (ANI): Australian actress Noni Hazlehurst has hit out at advertisers who "adultify" children, saying that retailers were entering dangerous territory by portraying children as pouting, high fashion "mini-me" adults.
The most recent example is Witchery, which launched its new line for two to nine-year-olds featuring young, brooding children in adult attire and poses.
Hazlehurst, 57, an ambassador for Barnardos, said it was ridiculous that young children were being pressured to grow up quickly, and their innocence needed protecting.
"They look like recalcitrant teenagers, I think this is a really dangerous direction," News.com.au quoted her as saying.
"I think it's offensive. The whole point of early childhood is to be joyous and free.
"Children as young as five are now going on diets, are worried about how they look, how they present - this just should not be an issue for children.
"It's really sad that people are trying to redefine what early childhood means," she stated.
She also added that the issues needed to be discussed more in the community and parents needed to be "incredibly careful about what their children are exposed to".
Kids Free 2B Kids has fired off an angry complaint to Witchery about its catalogue, saying it was "misguided".
WitcheryKids says its philosophy was fun and playful, "up to the minute adult trends styled for the smaller set".
But Kids Free 2B Kids, said in its complaint, that there was nothing "fun" about the catalogue images, which were "adultifying children". (ANI)