Innocence Subtly Being Hijacked

Child Innocence Lost

Innocence replaced by sexualized toys and media kids in today’s society are being inundated at younger ages and on larger scales with sexualized media and toys. Several generations ago preteens and younger children had little concept or concern with words or concepts such as sexy, hot, hooking up, pimped out, and other inappropriate ideas. Today children throw these words around as common slang. There is a constant onslaught of sexualization starting with toddlers resulting in a higher comfort level with sexual imagery. Toys are the way children explore and learn about their environment.

Unfortunately, in today’s society many toys are leading young children toward a grown up understanding. Bratz dolls are geared for the tween girls and display a young girl in high fashion, with lots of accessories, and make-up. There are other examples of toys from earlier generations that have “grown-up”. Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite dolls when released for this generation became slimmer and more fashionable. Even non-human toys have been sexualized. Trolls are baring their slimmer curves. Struts horses, which have long legged, slender figures, are decked out with make-up and fashion accessories.

The old standby Barbie has often sparked controversy due to unrealistic curves but the clothing and accessories offered today leave little to the imagination. Even more disturbing is the offering of a pregnant Barbie or Tattoo Barbie. Children are being offered toys that are stereotyped in their sexuality and too advanced for their concrete thinking abilities.

TV shows are another way society has influenced the growing sexualization of today’s youth. Most of the children’s channels have toddler shows on in the morning and then switch to tween and teen focused shows immediately afterwards. Sometimes there is no transition before these more mature related shows begin airing.

Rerun shows like iCarly, Hannah Montana, So Random, Zeke and Luther, Wizards of Waverly Place and others have story lines that often include content that is more mature than the young audience watching. There are scenes where couples are kissing on a boy’s bed in his room, kids talking about how old is too young for a first kiss, and other subject matter. There is a push in our society to grow up and become more mature and independent.

This drive has created a new generation of children who are being overexposed to concepts beyond their comprehension. Children should be allowed to remain innocent of the sexualized world of adults. As adults, we should be monitoring the toys, media, and culture they are surrounded with to better protect them.

Perspectives Clinical Staff Member