Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Young People
The society we live in can be judged by how individuals treat one another and by
how individuals are treated by those with power and authority. Evidence is available
that the lives of young people, especially, but not only, those who lack the love
and support of parents and a community, are negatively affected by the images and
sounds that bombard their senses.
The exploitative strategies directed towards the young by the mass media, particularly
the fashion, beauty, diet, music and advertising industries are contributing to a
raft of consequences such as eating disorders, depression, body image disturbances
and low self esteem. The images which depict females in submissive poses further
undermine the confidence of young women and encourage young men to embrace aggressive
behaviour. The consumption of such stimuli makes the development of healthy relationships
which demand mutuality a much prized outcome, rather than the norm.
While the young cannot be fully protected from noxious elements there is a need for
a two-pronged approach; one to equip young people to be media literate and develop
the ability to decipher the techniques and strategies used by corporate businesses
to get their money and also influence how they live and feel about themselves. The
second is as has been done in other countries conditions placed on corporate businesses
to desist from unscrupulous and unethical strategies.
BYE BUY CHILDHOOD
Mother's Union recently launched the above campaign to raise awareness and suggest
positive actions to reduce the negative impact of commercialisation on the lives
Mary Sumner House commissioned ComRes who recruited 1000 parents and 1000 MU members
into the study.
The key finding revealed that almost 60% of participants agree media content and
advertising is harmful by:
Making children sexually aware at an early age
Making children act older than their age
Participants reported that violent and sexually explicit films and video games are
too accessible and that the 9pm watershed is ignored. Findings also revealed that
parents felt they had some control of the content of children's media exposure but
expressed least control over children's use of social networking websites. The findings
reveal that participants regard Regulatory Bodies, Parents, Media Companies and Government
as the main regulators of the content of advertising.
Mother's Union pledge to;
Challenge children/parents/guardians/extended family to consider their consumer habits
Empower families to address the influence of commercialisation within the home
Engage with the commercial world and take positive action to challenge inappropriate
marketing or selling
Hold the government/political parties accountable on their pledges to address commercialisation
and sexualisation of children