Sexual content has become an 'inescapable' part of kids' lives, says expert

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Melbourne, Mar 17 (ANI): Children are exposed to an onslaught of sexualised content despite self-regulation of advertising and other media industries, according to the professional body for Australia's psychiatrists.

Professor Newman, the president of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, said that today's generation of kids faced the "widespread use of sexual images to sell anything from margarine to fashion."

She said risque images were now an "inescapable" part of a child's environment and put the blame on billboard and TV advertising, magazines and music videos and even the posters in department stores.

Newman has now urged for a new regime of restrictions to protect children from both targeted and inadvertent exposure to sexualised media content.

The exposure appeared to push typically teenage and adult concerns about body image, "sexiness" and of being a "worthwhile individual" well into a child's first years of life.

"I've seen four-year-olds and pre-schoolers who want to diet ... going on intermittent food refusal," quoted her as saying.

Newman said that introducing sexualised themes to children could be overt, , such as the move by a British retailer to sell a child's pole dancing kit or "tween" magazines that offer advice to girls on how to be more attractive to the opposite sex.

But most of the time children are exposed to sexual content despite all preventive measures adopted by parents and teachers.

"If you go into a 7-Eleven, at child's eye-view will be Ralph magazine next to cartoons," she said.

"The child might be attracted to the cartoons but what they are bombarded with are all these really quite unusual women with breast implants. It is sending a message that this is sexual attraction, this is what gets you on the front of a magazine," she added.

Newman will speak on the issue at the Australian Conference on Children and the Media, in Sydney on Friday. (ANI)

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