A review has been published today with serious implications for the kinds of identity our young people develop. Click on the link below for the full press release: for full version click this link. For The Daily Telegraph coverage see link.
An independent review into the sexualisation of young people, conducted by psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, was welcomed by Home Secretary Alan Johnson today.
Commissioned by the Home Office, the review forms part of the government’s strategy to tackle ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’ (VAWG) and looks at how sexualised images and messages may be affecting the development of children and young people and influencing cultural norms. It also examines the evidence of a link between sexualisation and violence.
Key recommendations include:
• the government to launch an online ‘one-stop-shop’ to allow the public to voice their concerns regarding irresponsible marketing which sexualises children, with an onus on regulatory authorities to take action. The website could help inform future government policy by giving parents a forum to raise issues of concern regarding the sexualisation of young people;
• the government should support the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to take steps to extend the existing regulatory standards to include commercial websites;
• broadcasters are required to ensure that music videos featuring sexual posing or sexually suggestive lyrics are broadcast only after the ‘watershed’;
• the government to support the NSPCC in its work with manufacturers and retailers to encourage corporate responsibility with regard to sexualised merchandise. Guidelines should be issued for retailers following consultation with major clothing retailers and parents’ groups; and
• games consoles should be sold with parental controls already switched on. Purchasers can choose to ‘unlock’ the console if they wish to allow access to ad and online content.
Dr Papadopoulos has worked closely with the Home Office in developing the current national awareness campaign targeting violence within teenagers’ relationships. A pack for teachers and pupils to accompany the campaign will shortly be made available to all schools. The government is also committed to introducing the subject of violence against women and girls and gender equality into the national curriculum, both of which are recommendations outlined in t review. The full list of recommendations will now be considered in more detail.
Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said:
“As a psychologist and as a parent, I welcomed the opportunity to take a critical look at the sexualisation of young people.
“Over the past few months I have spoken to many people including young people, parents, teachers and professionals and it is clear to me that this is a very emotive issue.
“I wanted to ensure that this was not an opinion piece, but a review based on real data and academic research which will help generate further debate and inform decisions about how to address these issues going forward.”
Dr Linda Papadopoulos is a well-known psychologist and media expert in the field of women and girls’ self-image. Her academic credentials include a PhD in psychology (City University), an MSc in Health Psychology (University of Surrey) and she has been a reader in psychology since 2001. Dr Papadopoulos is a practising clinician who has worked in various treatment settings both privately and in the National Health Service.
Her clinical interests focus on body image and self-esteem, eating disorders and facial disfigurement. The intention of the review is to contribute to a wider debate with the public about the risk to children’s developmental well-being, and the risk posed by others to children, through the sexualisation process.