Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce and every music artist with raunchy and explicit content in their videos could soon lose their spotlight before 9 p.m. in the U.K.
The Bailey Review, “Letting Children be Children,” took on the task to draw attention to the sexualization and commercialization of childhood due to the overexposure from popular media.
Reg Bailey, chief executive of Mothers’ Union, led the independent review, listening to parents’ concerns and suggestions as to what can be done to stop the inappropriate content reaching their children.
“It’s about the tone and the style of the way things are marketed to children. When you are so bombarded by marketing and sexualized imagery, it almost becomes wallpaper,” Bailey commented.
Some of the recommendations made in the review include creating a website designed for such concerns where parents can come to a consensus as to what is appropriate and what is not; installing parental controls to computers and internet services; adding age-ratings to music videos; banning inappropriate music videos or ads on television before 9 p.m.; and keeping sexualizing advertisement from reaching children’s playgrounds.
Prime Minister David Cameron supports the plan and is set to meet industry chiefs and regulators from the magazine, video game, music, broadcasting and advertising industries in October. He believes that companies should start implementing the requests before any law takes effect.
Parents as well as Cameron believe that the sexualizing images place pressure on children to grow up too fast.
“Parents … objected to behavior that diminishes their own ability to manage these pressures, typically by putting the parent in a position of having to deal with something at a time or place they did not choose or by being excluded altogether,” the review states.
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Music videos seemed to garner the strongest criticism from parents. Along with song lyrics being sexual and violent in nature, explicit dance routines and stereotyped gender roles are often portrayed, parents expressed.
“Whenever I have seen music videos lately I have been completely disheartened by the relentless portrayal of women as sex objects. More often than not they show young women in hardly any clothes … basically simulating sex … For a lot of acts that are popular with young people, the music video has become a way of pushing boundaries to see how much they can get away with,” one parent said in the review.
Another mother specifically called out some of U.S. artist Rihanna's songs "that nine-year-olds sing along to” but have “appalling content.”
They also mentioned that no matter how much you try to avoid the exposure to adult images, it is inevitable. While watching family-friendly shows parents often find that commercials can be a little too much for comfort.
In addition to the media, parents have also noticed children’s fashion increasingly mirroring adult clothes. “They try to make mini versions of adult clothes, so that mother can make their daughter look like them. You can get high heels for children and bikinis. I certainly didn’t have a bikini when I was a child,” said a concerned mother in the review.
The overall problem is that “this sexualization is taking away the natural step from being a child and becoming an adult. There is enough pressure on children already, to do well at school for example,” said a father of three children, two of which are already adults.
“When I was growing up, it was much easier than it is today,” he said.