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Should there be stricter controls on sexual imagery?

18:25 UK time, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Children are increasingly exposed to sexual imagery in computer games, adverts and teen magazines, according to a report. Should this material be regulated?

A Home Office study warns that children are increasingly exposed to material that their parents don't know about, and calls for tougher regulation of sexual imagery.

Games consoles and mobiles should be barred from accessing adult material to limit children's exposure to sexual imagery.

Report author Dr Linda Papadopoulos also said there was a clear link between sexualised imagery and violence towards girls.

Do you think children are exposed to ever increasing amounts of sexual imagery? Are you a parent who is worried about this? Would you welcome stricter controls on adverts, computer games and mobile phone content?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I would be very surprised indeed if anyone thought 'No'.

    This has been a long and gradual erosion, from the content of language after the watershed to what now passes as documentaries. There's no point in even trying to tackle this so long as the staples of evening entertainment are themselves littered with overtly rude behaviour. Even panel shows, are required to have the odd taboo broken all for the sake of humour.

    Mary Whitehouse was ridiculed by an increasing number - what fools they all were.

  • Comment number 3.

    for some considerable time now this has been going on over last 10yrs in particular at rate of knots. its unacceptable to be making clothes sexualising young children, and yes they see far more imagery than they should and while if the media wasnt out there that would help ultimately it is parents who are repsonsible for allowing their children to watch such things. we cant wqrap childen up in cotton wool but as parents we can control what access they have to tv,games,clothing we buy, etc

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree that there should be regulation. But only as long as we don't go so far as to have government filtering software. We're not China yet. Hopefully never.

  • Comment number 5.

    Perhaps there should be, but of more concern is the type of material we as taxpayers expose our children to.

    We have religious idiots controlling schools and preaching hatred or just plain dishonest nonsense such as intelligent design.

    On top of that you've got the government trying to brainwash children with gender feminist propaganda such as the pretence that abuse in relationships is only ever committed by males on females.

    Sexual imagery might not be the best thing but it's certainly less harmful than intentionally lying to children on such serious issues - something which essentially constitutes child abuse.

  • Comment number 6.

    This report is right to emphasise that action is required; the status quo is NOT ok.

    The phenomenon of Lads' Mags, semi-pornographic advertising and other features of everyday life in Britain today are symptoms of a broad social trend. Society has gradually and unconsciously accepted ever more sexual material in the public sphere as a social norm during the 20th century.

    This alone is bad enough. But combined with the exploding 21st century digital media in the hands of youth, which allows exposure of sexual material independent of parents and their guidance, it is a dangerous mix

    This report has quite rightly identified this, and proposed solutions which objectively are simply common sense and long overdue. The issue of violence against women and girls is only ONE consequence of this dangerous mix. British society in 10 years time, when the teenagers of today are in their twenties and above, will be significantly less healthy if we take no action.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think there should be regulation on where sexual imagery should appear.

    If an adult wants to consume sexual material then as long as the subject matter is legal I see reason why they should not make an informed choice. But I don't want it thrust in my face when I don't expect it - just as people who want it should have the option to see it, those who don't want it should have the equal option to not see it.

  • Comment number 8.

    To be honest, I am surprised to find out that this isn't regualted already. One thing I would like to point out is that men are sexually exploited as well as women.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hmmm, isn't this just another one of the endless attacks of nanny culture on anything that moves? I am tired of stuff like this.

  • Comment number 10.

    I cannot fathom why Sex and Violence are persistently treated as if they cause the same problems.

    I am more concerned (especially after two high profile cases involving violence against children) about exposure to images of violence tha I am to Sexual matter, which is seldom and need never be violent at all.

    until legislators learn to hold two thoughts in their heads at the same time they will never solve the problems of our broken society.

  • Comment number 11.

    So, because parents can't be bothered teaching their children about sex, are too busy to supervise them, and buy them high-tech gadgets to substitute for real affection, I can't watch something as a consenting adult? Wonderful.

    In response to the assertion that sexual imagery causes violence against women, why is it most societies that ban pornography are the ones where women are denied basic rights and stoned to death in the streets?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Yes, there has been an increasing rise in sexual imagery, and even though I'm no prude, even I've been shocked at some of the outfits stores sell to pre-teen girls. If it would look outrageous on an 18 yr old, what on earth makes people think it's going to look OK on an 8 yr old?

    And we wonder why there seems to be a rise in incidences of paedophilia ...

  • Comment number 14.

    We need a change in social attitudes, and laws about enabling parental controls are really only useful to achieve this.

    If you manage to prevent children in your house seeing highly sexualised material, they will just go round to the house of a friend who has parents with more tolerant attitudes or less knowledge than their kids of how to administer parental controls.

    These days pictures off the internet get swapped around in playgrounds. All a parent can do is to make sure that your kids know that this sort of attitude in wrong, which means watching your own behaviour as well as theirs. Irritating, but not the biggest inconvenience of responsible parenthood.

  • Comment number 15.

    webboffin wrote:

    I don't like this Have your say format.

    I don't either; it's boring, misses location and recommendations, and you have to scroll to the end to get latest posts and they're all listed as awaiting moderating. What a mess!

    Still, to topic. Yes, sexual imagery is everywhere. Sex is so over-hyped that it must come as a great disappointment when first experienced! I hate seeing little girls wearing makeup, piercings, and "sexy" clothes. They look so stupid. It may be just proxy youth for their fading mothers, but it also makes one very suspicious of their fathers. Still, there is some control in the UK. On a recent visit to Australia, I was shocked at how blatantly sexist and exploitative their TV is. It's almost as if they're programming their girls into sexual robots. No wonder Aussie women voted the Aussie husband as the worst in the world!

  • Comment number 16.

    My answer to all the questions asked is yes but I also have an issue with TV, especially Eastenders. The issues it deals with and the things portrayed in it are often inappropriate for children in the same way as the things the report highlights, yet the programme is shown before the watershed. Some will say "don't let them watch it" but that's not so easy when their friends all watch & discuss it (they’d just get everything 2nd hand then) Also probably more children watch Eastenders than come into contact with the material in the report. So moving Eastenders beyond the watershed would have a greater effect

  • Comment number 17.

    Well this report suggests putting parental locks pre set on games stations. Just how long do they think it will take children to find out in the playground how to disable them!

    As always poor parents are the problem in what they let their children get up to. Nothing else. Electronics in their bedrooms instead of only in the family rooms.

    Schools are the biggest problem in the socialisation of children and where all the bad attitudes are nurtured and passed on. Until we get rid of schools and educate instead these pop cultures will persist.

    The rest of adult life has no place being censored to accommodate the weak willed.

    The HYS changed system is useless.

  • Comment number 18.

    Obviously there needs to be more regulation on sexualising children, they're persistently exposed to inappropriate images. We are all exposed to inappropriate images & mentality in the media. There seems to be particular pressure on our kids to look a certain way & this is being backed up by government action, like in the case of a perfectly healthy girl whose parents were sent 'advice' because their child fell outside of 'normal' parameters on the percentile chart. Even more sickening is the image of Katie Price's little girl tarted up like a whore's handbag. For crying out loud the girl is only 2 years old, let her be a child first.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    First of all, lets see some evidence for the statement "sexualisation which contributes to violence against women and girls" This allays annoys me when something claims "new evidence" or "the latest report", I would like to see this report, or at least see the authors and their credentials plus the type of research, rather than trusting the word of a TV psychologist. Frankly if sexualisation is increasing it doesn't show a sign of society breaking, just an acceptance of sexuality, or would you prefer to revert to the sexual repression of the Victorians. It isn't the governments responsibility to protect and teach children about sex its parents, if you don't want your child watching adult content then put on a filter, rather than trusting the government to decide what's acceptable for YOUR child. Lets stop assuming that all men aspire to be "macho", most don't and know that violence against women (or men) is wrong.

  • Comment number 21.

    We already have censorship laws that border on ridiculous. "Regulation" is too vague a word to decide one way or the other.

  • Comment number 22.

    TominExter wrote:
    webboffin wrote:
    I don't like this Have your say format.
    I don't either; it's boring, misses location and recommendations, and you have to scroll to the end to get latest posts and they're all listed as awaiting moderating. What a mess!

    My further comment is I agree with the above two comments. It is a ghastly format and a backward step from what was a great concept. I can see no case for removing 'recommendations' or merit in the so called improvements. Call me old fashioned but its far less user friendly.

    On the subject itself,the slippery slope started 30 or more years ago and the slide will continue as those who do make an impact on the masses behaviour - TV deserves a particular mention - continues with the decline in language, behaviour and lack of respect alongside the disappearance of 'role models' in politics and figureheads generally at the 'top' of companies and so on - no-one seems to take personal responsibility now - we just go along with it all.During my lifetime,I am in my late 40s, the world just seems to increasingly value money and image in our so called advanced society that wallows in shallowness and any consideration where children are concerned is secondary. They are mere consumers it seems and available to be exploited too in our greedy world where quantity sold is far more important than any 'values' which seem old fashioned now by many - not me.

  • Comment number 23.

    Sexual imagery has gradually by stealth taken over a lot of normal everyday things such as adverts etc and now so commonplace we don't think about them until something hits us such as watching tv with a young person and this is how it now is,time for a few more Mary Whitehouse's to rear their heads and campaign for a good clean up of the media

  • Comment number 24.

    You do have to wonder at how much this increase in sexual imagery is contributing to our teen pregnancy and other youth problems. It's surely not simply a co-incidence (although debateable how much of an influence) that teen pregnancy and youth problems have increased over the last 20 odd years while the media has gradually become more lax in their censorship.

    Saying that I don't believe going back to a previous level of censorship is now going to solve it. Youths will always have a burning curiosity for taboo subjects and censoring them will only cause the problem to go underground.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    This entire report, the article, and everything related to it is biased towards overprotecting women and demonising men, so far as I can tell.

    First up, "Author Dr Linda Papadopoulos said there was a clear link between sexualised imagery and violence towards females. ".
    Well, I call shenanigans on that one. Any chance of a link to the actual report, please, BBC, so I can check this one myself?


    Other recommendations include:

    •A ban on Jobcentres advertising positions in lap-dancing clubs and massage parlours

    Just what does this have to do with children? Does Dr Papadopoulos think that lap-dancing clubs and massage parlours are regularly frequented by underage boys? Does she have any evidence for this? Are Jobcentres regularly trying to recruit underage girls to work in lap-dancing clubs and massage parlours? Of course they aren't! Dr Papadopoulos has an agenda here. She has intruded into the realms of what CONSENTING ADULTS want to do, and she should keep her prudish attitudes out of what is supposed to be a scientific report.

    Dr Papadopoulos said: "The evidence gathered in the review suggests a clear link between consumption of sexualised images, tendency to view women as objects and the acceptance of aggressive attitudes and behaviour as the norm. "

    Ahh, there we go again. "Tendancy to view women as objects". Just women? How strange. Last I checked, there were plenty of magazines targetted at women displaying men in states of partial undress. No? So why does she ignore them?

    "Both the images we consume and the way we consume them are lending credence to the idea that women are there to be used and that men are there to use them."

    More sensationalist guff that totally ignores the fact that you can see semi-naked men on the pages of readily-available magazines in every newsagents in the country.

    "The review forms part of the Home Office's broader attempts to have a louder public debate about how to combat violence against women and girls. "

    Ahhh!!! Here we go! Now it becomes clearer. This is all targetted towards combatting violence agains WOMEN and GIRLS. Well, how surprising. Not to be controversial, but I wonder if the Home Office realises that most of the victims of violent crime are actually men? It's a simple, easily checked statistic. I AM SICK TO DEATH with people SPECIFICALLY focusing on violence against females. It isn't moral and it is not right. This government and current attitudes are insane.

  • Comment number 27.

    Parents need to understand that the internet is an adult world which was created for adults by adults and therefore contains content unsuitable for children. Whether that access is via a PC or a mobile makes no difference.

    Parents already have control - they just need to exercise it. You wouldn't let your children have an unsupervised PC in their bedroom would you? So why let them have a mobile phone with unsupervised internet access?

    BTW This new HYS format is rubbish. The previous system with all its flaws and rigged voting was better than this rehashed old blog script.

  • Comment number 28.

    As father of a 12 year old girl I'm really concerned about this actually. Even if she's watching mainstream pop videos, the women are barely dressed & the dancing often very sexual in nature. Front covers of magazines in the newsagents are pretty explicit now too - I am by no stretch of the imagination a prude, but it really is out of hand and it seems peverse that in this age of equality, it seems the T.V and print more than ever show girls that a legitimate way to get on is to expose your body, and if you don't your "not cool"!

  • Comment number 29.

    Tell you what I think. Too many reports by so called boffins, think tanks and other quangoes and too many BBC programme makers basing their programmes on such rubbish. Everyone knows that such researchers can easily doctor their findings to show anything that the people who paid for the study want. We are bombarded with 10 "research shows..." reports per day...what makes the BBC think they are worth a light? Make programmes from your own imagination, not from worthless, biased research. I ask you to ignore all of the rubbish of which this article is the latest,

  • Comment number 30.

    Of course. Girls are subjected to ridiculous imagery of the female form. In films, comics, magazines, adverts. It's everywhere. I have a little girl, she's 2. She told me yesterday her tummy was getting smaller. It scared the hell out of me. We must stop this cultural persecution of the female form.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm tired of reading articles like this. People in the governement need to stop trying to control our lives. Back in the middle ages, people were getting married at 13/14 years old, and so its clearly part of human nature.

    My advise to Dr Papadopoulos would be to stop whining, and stop trying to tell people how to live. I can't take her seriously, this whole thing just reeks of 'feminist'.

    Am I the only one whose sick to the back teeth of this nanny state?

  • Comment number 32.

    Even if one one want's a regulation for controlling the content has it ever worked outside China any where ?The only effective control or filter can be the parent's oversight for the children using the net.This is a harsh reality of the digital era.

  • Comment number 33.

    This is so important. I never realised how bad this country had got until I had children. I remember walking into a garage with my four year old son; we had to past a rack of newspapers outside the garage door. The newspapers were at my son's face level, and the front pages of some of them were, to all intents and purposes, pornographic. After that moment, I became more and more aware of, and annoyed by, imagery that previously I had just accepted. What kind of messages are we sending to children? What kind of society do we want to live in? And I am a bloke, by the way, and not especially old or reactionary.

  • Comment number 34.

    Utter rubbish!
    My boys Dylan 9 and Cai 7 have known how and where they came from since they were 5 because we talked to them! explained that films, cartoons and gaming, also what we call "crash, bang, wallop" films are fantasy, they're not real, they understand this because we talk to them!
    We've taught them about swearing also, well it's either us or the school playground realistically isn't it? Believe me i've heard a lot worse there when dropping off/picking up than they'd ever use, b****y hell a la Ron from 'Harry Potter' or 'd******D' to each other is acceptable, we know it and they know it because we talk about it!
    Their fave movie's are 'Van helsing' 'Scary movie' 'Dark Knight'
    We don't censor them they do it themselves!!! They ask us if it's ok to play/watch or say something.
    I'm a music lover, so are they, like their peers they're into 'fiddy cent', 'eminem' etc we live in a pretty hard area 'gangsta rap' rules here so i played them 'east coast' rap, 'Public enemy' 'Africa Bambaada'
    'super TC' etc.
    In conclusion i would like to say they're normal, healthy in both body and mind (-: raucus, much loved and Independent little boys, not only polite but helpful and respectful in company!
    I wonder why.

  • Comment number 35.

    oh, sorry, post 12 recommended (-;

  • Comment number 36.

    I remember my first porn mag - I was 11 and a bunch of us lads found one, then again I remember my first porn movie as well - At 12...

    That was long before the internet - If you think this is a new problem then you either have a short memory or are just plain foolish!

  • Comment number 37.

    So what are the government going to do? Ban lads mags with pictures of boobs, tone down the adverts? And yet it is perfectly acceptable to teach children about homosexual relationships.

    And people call the BNP fascists? Absolute madness.

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree that there should be tougher controls over sexual imagery. I am also concerned about premature sexualisation of children like the Doctor and the government seem to be . Why then is the Child and Family Services Bill of the same government that is going though parliament proposing to make sexual education part of the national curriculum for primary school children? Surely this is premature sexualisation committed by the government. Incidentally the parental right of removal from these classes will not exist once the child is 15, no matter what offense material might be considered by a teacher or school nurse to be suitable to show. Already no right of removal exists for teaching of reproduction in science classes as it is part of the national curriculllum but some of the illustrations in text books would be considered by most to be pornographic.
    It is not too late to push for changes to the CFS Bill by contacting a Lord as it is going to the house of Lords

  • Comment number 39.

    Another example of the feminist and nanny state trying to stifle things that are perfectly natural.

    Given their way we would all end up wearing sackcloth and veils, even in our own homes.

    What will the next target be for these idiots?

  • Comment number 40.

    I am deeply concerned about the supposed correlation with sexualising children & domestic violence. It seems the government only acknowledges domestic violence as a male perpetrated crime. There are many women who perpetrate domestic violence yet these cases don't get the publicity & the male victims don't have the support. There are women who rely on their gender to not get a smack while pushing the emotional buttons. It is scary just how anti-male the system is, from my own experience social services push men out of a home & would prefer all families to be single mothers because they deem men too aggressive or violent.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    When I complained about an art exhibition on teh Streets of Liverpool geaturing full colour photographs of a neked womans crotch some of the few people supporting those pictures being displayed in public used the argument "It is the 21st century you know".

    Since these people seem to be working to some timetable of moral decline then surely, using their reasonong, we should just allow even the most pornographic of images everywhere and save the wait.

  • Comment number 43.

    PS I recommend post #1

  • Comment number 44.

    KAOwen wrote:
    Of course. Girls are subjected to ridiculous imagery of the female form. In films, comics, magazines, adverts. It's everywhere. I have a little girl, she's 2. She told me yesterday her tummy was getting smaller. It scared the hell out of me. We must stop this cultural persecution of the female form.

    I agree KAOwen - One problem that is rarely ever said is the fact that this is women demanding it - Men don't read these magazines and mostly complain that size zero is horrible - Its about time the female editors of these magazines took responsibility for their choices rather than blaming men!

  • Comment number 45.

    Richard Szenk wrote:
    So what are the government going to do? Ban lads mags with pictures of boobs, tone down the adverts? And yet it is perfectly acceptable to teach children about homosexual relationships.

    Yay HYS we have a bigot... Porn is not the same as teaching about healthy relationships - Talk about off topic.

  • Comment number 46.

    I don't think regulation will do it. I am all for kids staying as kids for longer, it is all about growing up too quickly. The answer lies with parents, bring up kids to reject these things until they can be understood.
    There is other imagery that is equally worrying, like the spate of vampire shows on TV and the trailers for them, and what about the perverse vodka advert on the TV at childrens hour with sexual, boozing and cult imagery.

  • Comment number 47.

    41. I agree with you, it would be better to post positive comments.
    Why is the comment box so far from the article, it used to be next to it!

  • Comment number 48.

    Human sexuality is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. It powers so many things that humanity does. Many good things result from it, but also it spurs competitive behaviour to mild aggression to fights, murders and probably even wars. Given that it is this great force, it's very sensible we teach young people about it and how to use it in a controlled way - that's an important part of what sex education does. Unfortunately commercial interests often give out a contrary message.

    Like drugs, most people learn how to use sexuality appropriately, but some don't and cause themselves and society some bad problems. We try to control drug usage for this reason, but using sexual imagery to sell newspapers, magazines or products is a long slippery slope that we are now some way down.

    When printed media and TV encourage 12 year olds (and younger) to dress like mini-hookers and when every newspaper stand looks like an implant surgeon's sales brochure, it's not surprising that some young people grow up with slightly skewed view of how to deal with sexuality.

    It's not really surprising that sexually motivated offences (of all kinds) happen so often. Unlike drugs, there's almost nobody trying to stop the supply of this stuff to those who can't handle it. Censorship is not the answer, attitudinal change is required by all of us.

    Alan T

  • Comment number 49.

    Is this the first time "sexual imagery" has been blamed for various crimes come sins? No, nor will it be the last. What I love is the cause and effect relationship created to suit where none has been proven. The young are completely different these days and I blame PARENTS for lacking control over their kids, for not controlling what their kids watch on TV and the moral values that should be instilled in the kids to know right from wrong.

    Should we ban make up and low cut tops? I seriously doubt women would go for that. Or should we ban mobiles, TV, the internet and so on to prevent the exposure of children to 'evil' ? You won't stop sexual imagery, it was possible to get hold of pornography before the WWW delivered it to your doorstop you know. What encourages boys to think of girls in sexual context is what the girls wear - make-up, sexually enticing clothing and they themselves becoming interested in the opposite sex and wanting to feel desirable. Don't try and pin it on boys/men for following their instincts when the girls/women are many times more promiscuous these days, lary in their conduct, lager louts like their male equivalents and so on.

    Society has changed, what makes me laugh is you get articles on "stricter controls on sexual imagery" not long after talk of making sex and relationship education a school subject! Maybe we should just put bromine in the boys' dinners and be done with it.

    Pornography isn't to blame, it is the ATTITUDE TOWARDS IT and generally towards women. Do women really think that men will stop thinking about sex if there is no pornography? They may feel it is 'degrading', funny how so many women are in pornography so 'letting their side down' and so many use pornography responsibly. Should we ban fatty foods, ban chocolate etc because kids are getting fat? I hear way too much about obesity yet no such drastic measures are called for because it would probably cripple half the food industry. The point is that control is down to the individual, how many people watch violent movies, say the Saw series, and go out and kill and maim people? Many watch violence and pornography without needing to replicate the content. And are women in pornography depicted as passive "objects" ? Do people who say that watch pornography and can be objective about its content?

    While I do agree with the sentiment that there should be more control over useage of the internet, I think the world would not suffer if there were no "lad mags" like Nuts etc, that is down to the sellers and parents to control ie leave adults out of it. Kids pretty much all have mobiles these days, do they really need to function like portable mini-PCs? Do all kids need one? Can they not be set up so that they can only be used to call and be called with? Perhaps the truth is kids have it far too good these days, spend hours on the internet and their X-boxes and that's probably why they are all obese - a lack of movement aka EXERCISE.

    Perhaps the social watchdogs would like to introduce all single sex schools, don't expose the little darlings (full-time) to the opposite sex until they are 18 and take away their technology altogether. Parents should take a look in the mirror and ask how much they could do about this "problem", if indeed it is a problem and not just another media circus blown up out of all proportion by ONE person's opinion with a whole load of others jumping on the bandwagon "oh yes, she's right" - probably for all the wrong reasons and without even thinking about it for themselves as the "answer" has been provided while the working out has more holes in it than the average UK road.

  • Comment number 50.

    I doubt if anyone is old enough to remember at first hand what is often called the sexual repression of Victorian times, but there must be many who can recall what it was like before sexual freedom became the fashion. It wasn't all good. Much of it was downright bad, but considering that we were assured that a release from repression would make for a much healthier society, and that sex crimes would, by and large, disappear of their own accord, I can only ask when it is going to happen. I am well aware of the deficiencies of, to take one example, the 1950s, but current attitudes towards sexuality seem a good deal more unhealthy. It used to be 'not in front of the children'. It still looks like a good approach.

  • Comment number 51.

    As A country with the worst record of ill treating children in Europe this latest revelation comes as no surprise.It will be of no surprise, therefore, that nothing will be done to protect the youngest in our society from the grubby exploiters lurking within our progressive system of social developement.

  • Comment number 52.

    Re .37

    >> So what are the government going to do? Ban lads mags with pictures
    >> of boobs, tone down the adverts? And yet it is perfectly acceptable
    >> to teach children about homosexual relationships

    Richard, I think you are conflating two things and using tabloid language to make your point (try reading your comment again changing "Lads" to "Smutty" and "children" to "Teenagers"). It would then be more accurate. By the way, you missed out "Little" when referring to children 8-) - you'll never get a job with The Sun!

    Of course there's no point in banning booby magazines and their ilk. However, they should be sold in a more sensitive way. Those who choose to buy them should be able to. Those who want nothing to do with them should not be confronted with them at every turn (TV, newspaper stands, supermarket, petrol stations etc etc). We exercise a similar societal consensus over - for one example - toilet functions, so it can be done.

    On the other issue: It's essential that teenagers are given the information they need to deal with the world. Would you sooner that the existence of homosexuality came as a surprise to them later on?

    Alan T

  • Comment number 53.

    It would be great to keep our kids as innocent as possible for as long as possible ... Meanwhile, back in the real world ... all you can do is bring them up properly and prepare them for the culture that, after all, has been created by adults like ourselves.
    The utterly naive approach of banning stuff, adding yet more requirements to the schools is just wasting money. The bottom line is, as long as adults rate this stuff it will filter through to kids.

  • Comment number 54.

    As always, the key is education.

    Most schools look at 'media' - initially as part of English and later as an option in its own right. So in teaching young people to analyse and interpret such material, the essential empty-headedness ought to be emphasised. Such an approach empowers the youngsters to see it for the complete pap that it is, and to realise that they can do far better for and with themselves.

    It is nothing new. In an all-girls high school in the 1970s, I was surrounded by young ladies whose leisure interests revolved around pop music and boys, neither of which interested me in the slightest. If you lifted up the desk lid of the girl who sat next to me, there was a full-frontal male nude pin-up! (If you opened mine, there was a schematic diagram of the control panel of a Lunar Excursion Module... but then I always was given to following my own interests, never mind the herd!).

  • Comment number 55.

    To be honest I agree with this. I found it a bit disturbing when doing a jigsaw puzzle with my girlfriends daughter she started singing Lady Gaga's "this beat is sick I wanna ride on your disco stick".
    She's 8 yrs old.

  • Comment number 56.

    Children are over-exposed and this should stop. No wonder there is so much problems with eating disorders and teenage pregnancies.

  • Comment number 57.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 58.

    Media, Fashion and show business have full responsibility for the present day decadence. You only have to look at Phillip Green and his dolly birds on the front page of last week's Magazine of Sunday Times.


    Etraordinary PAYMENTS to the glamour girls in the Media including BBC's news readers has promoted flesh exposure 'respectable'.

  • Comment number 59.

    A Have Your Say for the authoritarians to come and play.

    Whatever happened to freedom and personal responsibility? Why do we need an overbearing and incompetent government vetting what we can and cannot look at?

    Do not give them more licence to destroy our freedoms.

  • Comment number 60.

    Of course it should be regulated.

  • Comment number 61.

    Seems pretty pointless ranting about sexual imagery when hard core images are freely available on the internet. This leads us down a difficult road and one which we might all regret in a few years time when 'they' decide what we may or may not view 'in the National interest'. Who watches the watchers & with what justification do they decide upon 'fitness'?

  • Comment number 62.

    of course there should, the internet has opened up a world of information to every one but it has also opened up a world of information that people dont need to and should not see. tighter rules are needed to stop this barrage of sex and rubbish that we all have access to

  • Comment number 63.

    We don't need legislation or prohibition. We need education and a balance of arguments. To demonise sexual imagery is to give children a warped view on adult life and set them up with many harmful taboos.

    Rather than ban stuff for convenience, why don't we encourage discussion and responsible parenting?

    The report was most telling when Dr Papadopoulos was quoted as saying that there's a 'clear link between sexualised imagery and violence towards females'. There's nothing clear about it! But the assertion gives an indication of the angle at which the good doctor is approaching the subject of sex, and it doesn't appear to be a healthy one.

    I really hoped we'd got past this type of campaign. The only thing that thrives as a result is lazy politics. Doubtless, as a result of the 'study', we'll see a new resurgence of career politicians using it as a way of grabbing headlines and being 'seen' to do things, while ignoring real issues that affect their constituants.

  • Comment number 64.

    I am totally against censorship of any internet websites, no matter how distasteful they are. What is needed is better parenting; something that, unfortunately, cannot be forced, only recommended.

    Also, it would seem that the "link" between sexual images and violence against women and girls is so "clear" that the author of the report didn't feel the need to explain or justify this claim.

    Whilst it is true to claim that violence against women and girls is increasing, the same can also be said about violence against men and boys increasing. In fact, the whole country is brimming with tension and unrest at the moment. Is this also due to sexualising children? I think perhaps it's not.

    There is a lot more going on that needs to be fixed than just children being exposed to sexual images. It's very easy to blame a host of troubles on one thing, and at the same time diverting everybody's attention away from the real cause of the tension and unrest.

  • Comment number 65.

    here we go again blaming tv songs games and printed media for the ills of the world.

    what ever happened to self dertermination?

  • Comment number 66.

    I reckon sexual imagery is very much part of our culture and is widely available. So there is no point in imagining or engaging in a sort of cultural witchhunt that would produce exactly the opposite effects of what is intended. I have got three children, two of them teenagers. They have seen so much sexual imagery that they are no longer interested in sexual imagery and they have already moved onto other things. This is called saturation.

  • Comment number 67.

    'Under the counter' magazines should be just that. Walk into any newsagents and you can see what children shouldn't.
    In smaller newsagents where behind the counter is covered with cigarettes the kids are flicking through such magazines, it isn't right.
    What people choose to see is their affair, not everyone's that goes into a shop.

  • Comment number 68.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 69.

    Does anyone get the impression that nobody is reading your posts anymore.

    Lets try an experiment.

    Anyone who reads this start your post with a !!

  • Comment number 70.

    By all means the govermnet should mandate the tools to allow parents to control what their children see.
    However there should be no ban on content (assuming its still legal of course.)

    If the parents have the tools to monitor and moderate their childrens viewing then that is all that is needed. ie 9pm watershed, parental controls on PC's, or just not buying the child the offending item.

    Lazy parents should take some responsibility, learn how to use and control the stuff they buy for their children and not just arbogate their responsibility to the Government to the detriment of the rest of us.

    Australia is a sign of how far this pathetic moralising can go with their facist national firewall program.

  • Comment number 71.

    Whilst I agree that children should be protected from sexual imagery (and, more importantly, ALLOWED TO BE CHILDREN during their childhood), I would have to disagree with the assertion that it is exposure to sexual imagery which brings about violence towards women. I think that has more to do with the way both boys and girls are raised, than with what they see in the media. If children are raised to have respect for each other - and in particular, if boys are raised to believe it is wrong to be violent towards girls and women - then sexual imagery will not alter that upbringing.

  • Comment number 72.

    The Thought Police at it again.......!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    I was struck by the comments of the young women in the video about how they feel they ought to look like the airbrushed women, even though they know that the models (eg Cheryl Cole) don't even look like that themselves. As the mother of a seventeen year old daughter, I know that the idea that they are not thin enough, or perfect enough to be 'worthwhile' and I also know this is why many young women enter into sexual relationships too early as a way of feeling 'accepted' by boys.

    What I found wrong about this particular video, however, was the way in which the comments from the two Muslim women, both covered up apart from their faces, seemed to imply that they had the moral high ground. They spoke about being respected (presumably because they don't expose their flesh and hair) although, given the attitudes of men towards women in their culture, we might hardly call it 'respect'.

    My real point is: what was the motive of using this particular video clip in relation to this storyline? Was the implication (as it seemed to me) that if young women 'covered up' they would be respected by males? If so, then it would appear that the motive of using this clip was something that is highly suspect and muddies the waters about how our young women are made to feel inadequate unless they are sexually attractive and sexually active.

    I would like an explanation, please.

  • Comment number 74.

    Where have you all been for the last twenty years-sexual images have been rife throughout the advertising,fashion and pop culture industries for as long as I can remember-so long as it makes money,it is morally acceptable;and the so-called watershed has been cynically destroyed. The BBC's flagship soap continually presents sexual encounters which include presentation of underwear titillation before sexual offers,for example-quite apart from the apparent comfort zone the soap has with multiple sexual partnerships,habitual recourse to alcohol,and of course extremely revealing dress. Put your own house in order.

  • Comment number 75.

    I remember my brother and his friends, back in the 70's (they would have been 12 or 13 years old) going through my mother's Art Encyclopedia to have a look at Renaissance paintings of naked women. Boys (and girls) are curious about sex, naturally, and they will find a way to sexual images.
    Having said that, seeing girls as young as 8 wearing make-up and having 'Valentine makeovers' (it was advertised in our shopping centre two weeks ago!) is somewhat disturbing.

    By the way - I do not like this new HYS format at all.

  • Comment number 76.

    It's not just the sexual imagery in the media that's the problem - there was a big discussion in the Daily Telegraph a while back on how extraordinarily difficult it is to find "non-tarty" clothing for little girls...

  • Comment number 77.

    'Author Dr Linda Papadopoulos said there was a clear link between sexualised imagery and violence towards females.'

    This sounds like an excellent report, and one that I would completely agree with. I have always wondered why many music videos that are almost pornographic are allowed to be played throughout the day on TV, available for people of any age to stumble across.

    We must protect kids from being negatively influenced by these things, so that they can grow up knowing how to respect the opposite sex and respect each other.

  • Comment number 78.

    This is a woman who writes for Cosmo, filled with highly sexualised content including sex tips, karma sutra poses and raunchy images of men and women, and works on Big Brother, which is a virtual conveyor belt of 3rd rate porn stars appearing in Heat and the like. Let alone her amazing work on body image by appearing on shows like Celebrity Fat Club... Or of course her writing about Peter Andre and Katie Price, drawing attention to one of the worst examples of female celebrity role models in the country.

    Can this woman be any more of a hypocrite?

    Are we supposed to take this seriously? After Dr Tanya Byron we have Dr Linda Papadopulous. Will the Govt commission a paper from a psychologist who is famous for their job, not for appearing on trashy reality shows?

    Yes, sexual imagery delivered to children is bad but its the parents responsibility to protect their children not the Govt.

    I look forward to Ashley Cole's report on the benefits of chaste living and Amy Winehouse's on the dangers of recreational drug use.

  • Comment number 79.

    Right but wrong messenger! Sadly I've just heard Dr Pappa on Breakfast and she turned me off. Why? She's young, attractive, American and focussed on "Womens issues". In no way could she be seen as likely to properly understand how families/girls/boys about whom she is talking think. This is clearly about lecturing and controlling. An opportunity missed.

  • Comment number 80.

    Of course there should be more control on tv. Some of the things on now are what children shouldn't see,they are a bit rude. Parents must take responsibility too, kids talk about "how good" certain web sites are. Do their parents know what these web sites are?
    By the way, I hate the new HYS format, it's awful, please restore our usual one, please.

  • Comment number 81.

    It's all about practicality. It's very easy to raise issues like this without an understanding of the technology involved.

    This could be done in part at the ISP level but that would be a sweeping move, affecting everyone.

    So, this should be down to parents. There are many tools available which will filter such content but this isn't perfect and you must pay for it.

    The government should start a free open source initiative for such software. Even this won't be perfect but at the very least it will be available and they have the ability to make people aware of it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Katie Price, The Apprentice and Eastenders are my biggest worries. Between them they give people the impression that:

    a) Ability and hard work are unimportant, what matters is conniving
    b) Yelling and screaming gets you what you want
    c) The average person lives a squalid, mean little life and has no morals
    d) The only way to get out of that life is to sell your squalid little life to the tabloids

  • Comment number 83.

    It's good that the government is concerned about this and a good start would be withdrawing their plans for compulsory sex education for children under 10.

    There is no point removing the images that are abd for them if you then start telling them about those images and the mechanics of sex anyway. If you teach children something they will want to try it so don't teach them it and they will retain their innocence longer

  • Comment number 84.

    When I was younger the sexual images came from Page 3, top shelf magazines and pop stars wearing short skirts or kinky boots.

    The availability of this stuff has exploded and now kids can go straight from page 3 to hard internet pornography.

    Personally I'd like adult content restriction settings easy to find in Internet Explorer. That way you can choose to allow access to them or not. As for magazines I'd mainly like them to be a bit more responsible for their content given that they are being sold to kids. If not it might need them to go to the top shelf or have an age restriction on them.

  • Comment number 85.

    a, there I read it.

    However I agree this new format does make it possible to see all the posts at once and those that are waiting moderation and rejected. It used to be awful that the moderators got too busy and you never got to read them. However, I'd like to see the recommendations back on. It was a good way to see how popular an opinion was.

  • Comment number 86.

    "41. At 06:40am on 26 Feb 2010, Andy wrote:

    I have to agree with other posters. Why is it that I can complain about a post but can not recommend it? Are only negative responses allowed?"

    The complaints are for posts that you think break the "house rules" in some way, they are not a voting system like the old recommend button.

    BTW - BBC - This new system SUCKS! We NEED a voting system for the posts.

  • Comment number 87.

    2. At 00:32am on 26 Feb 2010, -Simon- wrote:

    I would be very surprised indeed if anyone thought 'No'.


    Well, prepare to wrench your jaw from the ground because I can assure you that many of the more 'grown up' among us are sick of being told what makes people bad. Lads mags being sold to -16 should probably be banned, as should pornographic adverts online (although the only sites that actually HAVE pornographic advertising are pornographic websites and illegal filesharing sites). But consoles with parental locks built in? No thanks, that's another slap to the face of the already socially unaccepted games industry.

    People, get this into your heads. There has been evil in the world as long as there have been people in the world. Violent fictional imagery on television or in videogames is not a big enough factor to justify this prohibitive attitude. It just punishes the many for the actions of the few.

  • Comment number 88.

    This is just what David Cameron was saying last week. Labour are in denial that sexualisation has taken place but it has certainly been an increasing problem under Labour.

  • Comment number 89.

    Surely the inevitable ultra-reactionary response will appear to solve everything, yet accomplish nothing. Banning and restricting access to material with sexual content will only make it even more taboo, and thus the most resourceful children will still be able to find a way to view it.

    What is needed is a healthier, more continental approach to sexuality. Dutch sex education, for example, is very frank and honest, but doesn't treat children like children - it treats them like adults. Make sexual liberation the norm, make them aware of the responsibility that comes with a sexual relationship, and don't shy away from explaining things rather than simply banning them.

    The prevalent Anglo-Saxon attitudes towards children of them either being "Angelic" (pure and innocent, and needing guidance to stay away from temptation) or "Satanic" (evil and mischievous, and needing a firm hand to be put on the path to being a decent citizen) are fundamentally flawed, in that they patronise children by assuming there is a natural difference between adults and children. There is no such difference. Childhood as a concept has only existed since the Renaissance - before that, children were simply little adults. Treat children as equals, not as playthings to be mollycoddled.

  • Comment number 90.

    So what the New Labour Nanny State is suggesting is that they will sensor what I can see and do with my Games Console, simply because we cannot address the real issue which is parents taking proper responsibility for what their Children do.

  • Comment number 91.

    Parents should look to how they dress their small children - like minature adults. That's how they are being sexualised, not by seeing things in the media

  • Comment number 92.

    Then I wouldn't have some young lady's crotch thrust into my face every time she tries to sing.
    She is, of course, scantily dressed so as to take my mind off the fact that she can't sing.

  • Comment number 93.

    Of course there needs to be stricter control! What has happened to our society! We are constantly being taught to objectify everyone. Yes our children are being sexualized and its very scary indeed! Turning a person into just a sexual object contstantly, has a drip drip effect of making them feel, that is all they are! Girls/Women objectify other girls/women and themselves and now boys/young men are beginnging to do it to themselves as well. The media, Games, adverts, movies are filled with it. By objectifying a person you take away their humanity. You dont see them with human real qualities. You care less about them and are able to use them. Objectifying someone, kills the empathy for them. This is where the respect goes down the drain and once that goes it is so much easier to act out control, abuse, rape violence, you name it. The prevailance of lads mags and porno only perpetuate children/adults into seeing girls/women as objects to be used and abused and this is being acted out in real life, as girls and boys, men and women, have less respect for women and girls. Girls cannot even respect themselves, because they are now being taught by the media that they shouldnt have any. Anyone who says that all this does not help to perpetuate so many new problems that we have today, have their heads in the sand. What about all the body image issues, Anorexia, boys sexually intimidating girls, children being forced to become sexual earlier? It seems that now even Rape is not taken very seriously, and is joked about all the time by guys. People, particulary women need to stand up for themselves and complain for them and their childrens sakes. You are not a prude to go against being constantly sexualized and trivialized. We must all raise our voices about what is happening, not just for our children, but for ourselves as well.

  • Comment number 94.

    As a parent I believe that it is my job to regulate and control what my child sees, and should my daughter see sexual images outside of the home, then I hope that I am bringing her up in a way that enables her to ask me questions and discuss this with me. The problem with tighter controls is that it is very easy to move from common sense to outright censorship; censorship can be a very dangerous thing indeed, as surrounding sexuality with a sense of mystery and the forbidden simply encourages young people to take an unhealthy level of interest. Parents need to be given the reins, and I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the way in which all responsibility for what children see, do and say is now landing in the lap of the government and the education system.

  • Comment number 95.

    Children only have to see the latest Calvin Klein (or similar underwear/perfume brand) advert on billboards to be exposed to sexual imagery these days ... what are parents supposed to do, march them around city centres with a hand over their eyes?

  • Comment number 96.

    There are thousands of terabytes of hardcore porn easily available on the internet. "Lads mags" and music videos are so tame in comparison it is an absolute joke.

  • Comment number 97.

    Through exposure to the "media" by via magazines in newsagents, the daily tabloids, or TV - children of all ages are able view images of either soft porn or sexual content. There is no "mystery" any longer, and respect for women has disappeared in the process. In addition bad language, filth and swearing are now in regular every-day use.

    Any body or political party seeking to improve or restore standards in public life, families, or schools, is regarded as an "out-dated crank" It is high time this was addressed, and not until then will we see the values and standards which were taught to me by my parents, and schools, restored.

  • Comment number 98.

    This is the BBC, a media outlet, at the centre of a child oriented society which has become obsessed with the idea of encouraging children to grow up faster. To become sophisticated well before their time. It isn't just imagery, it is sound, touch, taste, and smell too. It isn't just magazines, computer games etc, is it?

    Kids need to be kids, not small adults.

  • Comment number 99.

    One of the problems we have today is categorising and distinguishing. For most people, films, magazines etc. of an adult nature aren't an issue since they are clearly identified and aimed at an adult market. It's the 'non-adult' material which seems to be the problem today since it is easily and legally bought by minors when the content often borders on the adult.

    I have been involved as a photographer with the modelling scene for many years but these days only shoot girls over 18 - not because it's adult work but because of the grey area surrounding those under this age. The law says it's illegal to take topless images of girls under 18 which is fine as you know exactly where you stand, but when the rules say it's illegal to take provocative images of minors, there's no definition as to what is 'provocative' so many photographers like myself err on the side of caution as it would only take one over-protective parent and one moralising judge to tarnish an unblemished reputation.

    One thing I am at a complete loss to understand is how looking at the naked human form, be it lawfully artistically or unlawfully sexually, makes a child violent - I just have a sneaking suspicion that parenting might have something to do this.

  • Comment number 100.

    The new HYS format is, er... no good (to put it mildly).
    I only came on to do some recommending - so, here goes:
    Posts 12 and 34:)


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