Stop Pimping Our Kids!
Retailers selling items of clothing inappropriate for the age they're targeting, sexually provocative music videos and newsagents stocking lads' mags in the eyeline of toddlers. These days, sexual imagery is everywhere.
We're fighting back to give kids their childhoods back, taking direct action against the main culprits and showing you how you can too. STOP PIMPING OUR KIDS!
- 92% of young girls say they hate their bodies
- 3,560 school children were suspended or expelled in the last year for sexually inappropriate behaviour in our schools
- "sex" and "porn" appear in the top 20 search terms for all ages of British children
We're targeting big businesses we feel could be contributing to the premature sexualisation of our children and showing what you can do to get involved and make a real difference.
Our Stop Pimping Our Kids toolkit at the bottom of the screen gives you all the ammunition you need to make a stand and get the message out there. And please make sure you actively support us on Facebook and Twitter where you can post your own pics of inappropriate items you have found in stores, to help raise awareness.
Just because kids want to emulate what they see on TV or in the press, doesn't mean we should cater to them. High street stores can be found selling padded bras for 7-8 year olds, 2.5-inch heels for toddlers and hot pants for 3-year olds.
Along with online groups like MumsNet, we're fighting to stop the premature sexualisation of our kids on the high street.
Anna visited retailers Primark, Peacocks, Matalan and ShoeZone to challenge them on why they feel it's appropriate to put these goods on the shelves, and you can do the same.
What can you do?
- Visit our Facebook page and upload your own images of inappropriate items you've spotted in the shops, make sure to name and shame the retailers for the benefit of other parents
- Vote with your feet and stop shopping in these stores — and make sure to let them know what you've done and why by email or letter (this will make them much more likely to pay attention). Also spread the word to family, friends and across your network of parents.
- Sign the SPOK online petition which will be presented to the head offices of some of the retailers mentioned above later in 2011
Not far from our kids favourite magazines on the shelves of newsagents you can find lads' mags and sexually explicit images. Some within our children's eyeline — and reach.
Young children are influenced by the everyday imagery and experiences around them and a semi-naked babe bearing almost all on the front of a lads' mag sends out all sorts of signals. Aside from young girls already thinking they should have the body of a model and fake boobs if they're going to get anywhere in life, our kids emulate what they see — girls emulate the clothing and behaviour, and boys think that these are the ideal women of the world.
We're not saying these magazines should stop using this imagery —after all, it's their selling point to their target audience. But stocking these publications at child's eye level is an issue. Why not just move them up a couple of shelves?!
What can you do?
- Make a stand — when you reach the till with your usual mags and purchases, refuse to pay until offensive material has been moved up the shelves — and if it isn't moved, leave your stack on the counter!
- Contact the head offices of offending retailers and tell them what you think about their display policies
- Take photos of the offending displays, clearly showing the height, and upload to the SPOK Facebook page
Some of the UK high street's most well-known names are retailing products to kids using images that are just inappropriate for the age range at which they're targeted.
As adults, we're wise to this, but our kids aren't. These stores are basically teaching them 'buy this and you'll be sexy and desirable'. Despite outrage in the press, pressure groups leaning on big business and even the Prime Minister weighing in on the debate, very little has actually changed on the shelves.
We visited over 40 high street stores and supermarkets and were shocked by what we saw.
What can you do?
- Hit these retailers where it hurts — their profit margins. Stop shopping in these stores selling inappropriate items. Then make sure to let them know what you've done and why by emailing or sending them letters.
- Take pictures of products you've found and post them for others to see on our Facebook page along with your comments
From R&B and rap videos objectifying women to saccharine chart pop featuring almost-naked dancers and explicit lyrics, many music videos contained sexual imagery or representations of sexual intimacy. High profile pop stars like Lady Gaga and Rhianna — emulated by little girls the world over — use raunchy and suggestive moves and lyrics which help sell their music to the masses. All very well if you're an adult, but far from acceptable when a 6 year old starts copying them.
Pop videos full of sexual imagery are airing throughout the day when kids could be watching — that is, before the 9pm watershed designed to protect our children from material that's not suitable for their young eyes.
What can you do?
- Stop letting your kids watch these channels, and encourage your friends and family to do likewise — the fewer viewers, the less profit, the more likely they are to take action to rectify this behaviour. Email the Channels to let them know what you've done and why.
- Post a message via Facebook or Twitter to the pop stars involved — ask them, do they think this is appropriate?
The Stop Pimping Our Kids! toolkit gives you all the weapons you need to start spreading the word and showing retailers and broadcasters you want them to STOP PIMPING OUR KIDS! From Facebook profile pictures and twibbons (customised icons for your Twitter profile pic) to printable posters and leaflets. Do your bit to get the word out, encourage others to help too and to show that you won't stand for it!
Right click the image and choose 'Save As' to save the image to your desktop (or on a Mac just drag it to your desktop). Then login to Facebook and hover over your profile pic until 'Change Picture' appears in the top right-hand corner. Then simply follow the instructions on screen.
If you have your own blog or website, please show your support for the campaign by adding one of these badges to your site. Just copy the embed code from the box below the badge of your choice, and then add it to your blog or website by pasting it in the appropriate place. You may need to follow further instructions from your blog/site host on how to do this (often under headings like: Design).
Right click the image and choose 'Save As' to save the image to your desktop (or on a Mac just drag it to your desktop). You'll then need to use an image programme such as Photoshop or you can even use PowerPoint to add the twibbon onto the corner of your current profile picture and save it (you might need to resize the twibbon image first). Once you're done, go to Twitter or Facebook and update your profile with the new image featuring the twibbon.