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    Default Over Sexualization of Youths

    Youg Girl's role model (Miley Cyrus) voted worst celebrity influence of 2009

    Oct 28, 2009


    Miley Cyrus, one of Disney's hottest stars of the past three years with hit records and hit films, has been voted the worst celebrity influence of 2009 by the very people who made her a star, tweens and teens, according to an online poll on Wednesday.

    Cyrus, 16, took 42 percent of votes in the poll for AOL's JSYK.com (Just So You Know) website aimed at 9-15 year-olds, pushing Britney Spears and rapper Kanye West into second and third places, respectively, in a section on worst celebrity influences of the year.

    No reasons were given for the poor showing of the singer-actress and the popular star of Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" television series.

    But the ranking follows a year which has seen Cyrus controversially dating a 20 year-old model, making "slant eyes" in an informal snapshot criticized as mocking Asians, and being accused of pole-dancing on a teen awards show.

    Cyrus also came in No. 4 in the category of favorite female artist, behind 19-year-old country sensation Taylor Swift, "I Kissed a Girl" singer Katy Perry and R&B star Beyonce. The poll attracted almost 50,000 votes.



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    comment:

    Many parents think that Disney's movies and celebrities are ok for children. They are NOT. If you don't teach your children about Islam and give them Muslim role models then these are the people whom they will take as role models and imitate.

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    10 Is the New 15 As Kids Grow Up Faster

    'Teen Tweens': Kids are growing up faster, worrying parents and some professionals

    By MARTHA IRVINE AP National Writer

    Zach Plante is close with his parents _ he plays baseball with them and, on weekends, helps with work in the small vineyard they keep at their northern California home. Lately, though, his parents have begun to notice subtle changes in their son. Among other things, he's announced that he wants to grow his hair longer _ and sometimes greets his father with "Yo, Dad!"

    "Little comments will come out of his mouth that have a bit of that teen swagger," says Tom Plante, Zach's dad.

    Thing is, Zach isn't a teen. He's 10 years old _ one part, a fun-loving fifth-grader who likes to watch the Animal Planet network and play with his dog and pet gecko, the other a soon-to-be middle schooler who wants an iPod.

    In some ways, it's simply part of a kid's natural journey toward independence. But child development experts say that physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among "tweens" _ kids ages 8 to 12.

    Some of them are going on "dates" and talking on their own cell phones. They listen to sexually charged pop music, play mature-rated video games and spend time gossiping on MySpace. And more girls are wearing makeup and clothing that some consider beyond their years.

    Zach is starting to notice it in his friends, too, especially the way they treat their parents.

    "A lot of kids can sometimes be annoyed by their parents," he says. "If I'm playing with them at one of their houses, then they kind of ignore their parents. If their parents do them a favor, they might just say, 'OK,' but not notice that much."

    The shift that's turning tweens into the new teens is complex _ and worrisome to parents and some professionals who deal with children. They wonder if kids are equipped to handle the thorny issues that come with the adolescent world.

    "I'm sure this isn't the first time in history people have been talking about it. But I definitely feel like these kids are growing up faster _ and I'm not sure it's always a good thing," says Dr. Liz Alderman, an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. She's been in practice for 16 years and has noticed a gradual but undeniable change in attitude in that time.

    She and others who study and treat children say the reasons it's happening are both physical and social.

    Several published studies have found, for instance, that some tweens' bodies are developing faster, with more girls starting menstruation in elementary school _ a result doctors often attribute to improved nutrition and, in some cases, obesity. While boys are still being studied, the findings about girls have caused some endocrinologists to lower the limits of early breast development to first or second grade.

    Along with that, even young children are having to deal with peer pressure and other societal influences.

    Beyond the drugs, sex and rock'n'roll their boomer and Gen X parents navigated, technology and consumerism have accelerated the pace of life, giving kids easy access to influences that may or may not be parent-approved. Sex, violence and foul language that used to be relegated to late-night viewing and R-rated movies are expected fixtures in everyday TV.

    And many tweens model what they see, including common plot lines "where the kids are really running the house, not the dysfunctional parents," says Plante, who in addition to being Zach's dad is a psychology professor at Santa Clara University in California's Silicon Valley.

    He sees the results of all these factors in his private practice frequently.

    Kids look and dress older. They struggle to process the images of sex, violence and adult humor, even when their parents try to shield them. And sometimes, he says, parents end up encouraging the behavior by failing to set limits _ in essence, handing over power to their kids.

    "You get this kind of perfect storm of variables that would suggest that, yes, kids are becoming teens at an earlier age," Plante says.

    Natalie Wickstrom, a 10-year-old in suburban Atlanta, says girls her age sometimes wear clothes that are "a little inappropriate." She describes how one friend tied her shirt to show her stomach and "liked to dance, like in rap videos."

    Girls in her class also talk about not only liking but "having relationships" with boys.

    "There's no rules, no limitations to what they can do," says Natalie, who's also in fifth grade.

    Her mom, Billie Wickstrom, says the teen-like behavior of her daughter's peers, influences her daughter _ as does parents' willingness to allow it.

    "Some parents make it hard on those of us who are trying to hold their kids back a bit," she says.

    So far, she and her husband have resisted letting Natalie get her ears pierced, something many of her friends have already done. Now Natalie is lobbying hard for a cell phone and also wants an iPod.

    "Sometimes I just think that maybe, if I got one of these things, I could talk about what they talk about," Natalie says of the kids she deems the "popular ones."

    It's an age-old issue. Kids want to fit in _ and younger kids want to be like older kids.

    But as the limits have been pushed, experts say the stakes also have gotten higher _ with parents and tweens having to deal with very grown-up issues such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Earlier this year, that point hit home when federal officials recommended a vaccine for HPV _ a common STD that can lead to cervical cancer _ for girls as young as age 9.

    "Physically, they're adults, but cognitively, they're children," says Alderman, the physician in New York. She's found that cultural influences have affected her own children, too.

    Earlier this year, her 12-year-old son heard the popular pop song "Promiscuous" and asked her what the word meant.

    "I mean, it's OK to have that conversation, but when it's constantly playing, it normalizes it," Alderman says.

    She observes that parents sometimes gravitate to one of two ill-advised extremes _ they're either horrified by such questions from their kids, or they "revel" in the teen-like behavior. As an example of the latter reaction, she notes how some parents think it's cute when their daughters wear pants or shorts with words such as "hottie" on the back.

    "Believe me, I'm a very open-minded person. But it promotes a certain way of thinking about girls and their back sides," Alderman says. "A 12-year-old isn't sexy."

    With grown-up influences coming from so many different angles _ from peers to the Internet and TV _ some parents say the trend is difficult to combat.

    Claire Unterseher, a mother in Chicago, says she only allows her children _ including an 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter _ to watch public television.

    And yet, already, they're coming home from school asking to download songs she considers more appropriate for teens.

    "I think I bought my first Abba single when I was 13 or 14 _ and here my 7-year-old wants me to download Kelly Clarkson all the time," Unterseher says. "Why are they so interested in all this adult stuff?"

    Part of it, experts say, is marketing _ and tweens are much-sought-after consumers.

    Advertisers have found that, increasingly, children and teens are influencing the buying decisions in their households _ from cars to computers and family vacations. According to 360 Youth, an umbrella organization for various youth marketing groups, tweens represent $51 billion worth of annual spending power on their own from gifts and allowance, and also have a great deal of say about the additional $170 billion spent directly on them each year.

    Toymakers also have picked up on tweens' interest in older themes and developed toy lines to meet the demand _ from dolls known as Bratz to video games with more violence.

    Diane Levin, a professor of human development and early childhood at Wheelock College in Boston, is among those who've taken aim at toys deemed too violent or sexual.

    "We've crossed a line. We can no longer avoid it _ it's just so in our face," says Levin, author of the upcoming book "So Sexy So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood."

    Earlier this year, she and others from a group known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood successfully pressured toy maker Hasbro to drop plans for a line of children's toys modeled after the singing group Pussycat Dolls.

    Other parents, including Clyde Otis III, are trying their own methods.

    An attorney with a background in music publishing, Otis has compiled a line of CDs called "Music Talking" that includes classic oldies he believes are interesting to tweens, but age appropriate. Artists include Aretha Franklin, Rose Royce and Blessid Union of Souls.

    "I don't want to be like a prude. But some of the stuff out there, it's just out of control sometimes," says Otis, a father of three from Maplewood, N.J.

    "Beyonce singing about bouncing her butt all over the place is a little much _ at least for an 8-year-old."

    In the end, many parents find it tricky to strike a balance between setting limits and allowing their kids to be more independent.

    Plante, in California, discovered that a few weeks ago when he and Zach rode bikes to school, as the two of them have done since the first day of kindergarten.

    "You know, dad, you don't have to bike to school with me anymore," Zach said.

    Plante was taken aback.

    "It was a poignant moment," he says. "There was this notion of being embarrassed of having parents be too close."

    Since then, Zach has been riding by himself _ a big step in his dad's mind.

    "Of course, it is hard to let go, but we all need to do so in various ways over time," Plante says, "as long as we do it thoughtfully and lovingly, I suppose."

    On the Net: Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org


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    comment:

    Notice that the cause of these children becoming like this is: (1) their friends, (2) TV, and (3) Parents lack of control. Parents can prevent this by controlling all three of these things. Do not allow your children to be with or have bad friends. Do not allow your children to watch any haraam media content. And parents need to take the responsibility as a parent and do their job of raising their kids. Nannies, television, or anything else will not do. You only get out what you put into something.

    It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Umar that the Holy Prophet (Maypeace be upon him) said: Beware. every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shal be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust. Sahi Muslim, Book 020, Number 4496


    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “The likeness of a good companion and a bad companion is that of a perfume seller and one who works the bellows. With the perfume seller, either he will give you something or you will buy something from him, or you will notice a good smell from him, but with the one who works the bellows, either he will burn your clothes or you notice a bad smell from him.” Narrated by Muslim, no. 2628.
    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Fear Allaah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)” [al-Tawbah 9:119]

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    What's up with kids cartoons these days? I have yet to see a cartoon that doesn't have kissing scenes in them. These are mainly Disney cartoons, but I've noticed the trend with all cartoons. Kissing used to be taboo in most cartoons, now, it seems that cartoons are every 13 year old boy's fantasy.

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    Its called sexualizing youths, who do you think is in Hollywood? It's definitely not the Teacher/Parent Association!

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    Clothing for little girls



    And you thought Abercrombie was bad? Check out the latest from Delia's. And yes, I know "tight" is slang for cool. But I think we all understand the double entendre here. And it's nasty--especially considering Delia's clothing is primarily marketed towards pre-teens.

    http://kitchentables.wordpress.com/2006/09/03/delias-joins-the-likes-of-abercrombie-in-exploiting-its-female-customers/


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    Over Sexualization of Our Young Girls

    parentankignore - posted 10th Jan

    I got into a discussion about this in another thread, and I thought I would post a short article I had written for my beauty website last year. I thought it might spur some good discussion here on D&D.

    When I see a two year old who is smeared in a variety of random cosmetics, I have a good laugh. Most of us have played in our mom's makeup at one time in our lives. But when I heard about real, high-quality makeup for 6- to 9-year-old girls, that Mattel and Bonne Bell are going to be releasing in 2008?? Not to mention that MGA Entertainment (which makes Bratz) already has been selling makeup for girls through Markwins International and Added Extras?? Am i the only one who sees problem here...




    Moms, teachers, aunts, we ought to stop this craziness, and quick. Let's not dismiss this as "just playing dress-up." Already, there are Bratz-branded padded bras for 6 year olds (which they call "bralettes") that came out last year. And by buying little girls their own realistic makeup, we will continue to make them into sexualized beings way too early. I'm not saying we should ban dress up and makeup play in young girls, but a line needs to be drawn and its up to us as parents/teachers/aunts/grandmas/etc. to do it. They are going to be bombarded with the pictures they find in our magazines, the images they see in commercials, and now the toys they see lining the shelves of their favorite stores. Its up to us to draw the lines of what is age appropriate play, and what is simply exploitation of our girls natural desires to want to be "all grown up." <o:p></o:p>

    I'm not just some overprotective chick saying, "Keep the girls young and cute!" According to the American Psychological Association (APA)'s "Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls" published February 2007, the early sexualization of young girls contributes to a host of psychological problems, including issues of cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development. Who wants their daughter to have these problems? Since makeup is one of the accessories of a woman's sexuality, you'd better believe that buying little girls fancy, real makeup serves to help our culture sexualize them.



    If you're a parent or teacher of a young girl, check out the APA recommendations on what parents can do to prevent early sexualization. Think good and hard about the toys you are giving the young girls in your life. Do they encourage sexuality too young? Just let them be little girls, running around and playing, not obsessing over their eyelashes in the mirror every day.

    http://forum.baby-gaga.com/about455166.html


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    Padded Bras For 6-Year Olds

    by Teresa McEntire | 22 Sep 2006

    What is the fashion world coming to? Now stores are selling padded bras for six year olds. That is kindergarten age. So bras aren't just for those who are actually developing but a necessity to start kindergarten. It's crazy. What is even crazier is that parents actually buy them for their daughters.

    Bratz padded bras are currently being sold in Australia and it's only a matter of time before they make their way to the United States. In a Herald Sun article Target, a separate entity from the US Target, claimed that they sell the padded bras because they support "fashionable items that give girls modesty and style as they go through development changes." Give me a break what six-year-old is developing breasts. It doesn't happen. If it actually did the girl's mother could buy a regular training bra.



    Let's be honest here. The reason they are selling padded bras is because they are marketing sex to children. (See my blog on this topic.) The only reason a girl needs a padded bra is so that she looks older, more like the dolls that she plays with, and her favorite teen pop stars. The clothes that they sell for girls today are fashioned after teen styles. So why shouldn't your six-year-old look like a teenager while wearing the clothing? Because she is six-years-old. She is still a child and should dress like a child.

    The spokeswoman for Bratz claims that, "the idea of the padding is for girls to be discreet as they develop. It is more about hiding what you have got than showing it off. It is certainly not there to make children look like they have breasts." Then what is the point of padding. It most certainly will call attention to that area and make it look like the girl does have breasts. That's why teenagers and adult women wear padded bras to enhance what they have and make it look better. If you are trying to be discreet then sell undershirts not padded bras. I could maybe understand a bra with no padding if that is their purpose. But padding is not discreet. Neither is the bra line that will show under the clothing. That just makes the girl look like she is a teenager.

    There are those speaking out against the new clothing line including the Australian Family Association. Spokeswoman Angela Conway said, "We have a growing problem with pedophilia and people viewing children as sex objects. Children do not need these products and I am appalled. It is more than bad taste. The sexual portrayal of children in this country is illegal and these products are pandering to just that."

    Recenlty Bratz released a new clothing line targeted for girls ages 8-12 in the US. So now the girls cannot only play with Bratz dolls but dress like them too. The press release states that "this super-hip sassy new line of apparal" features clothing with "a look which redefines wardrobe essentials with the requisite Bratz flair." The clothing line contains clothing out of sleek satin, faux fur, velveteen denim, stretch corduroy, velour, and french terry decorated with sequins and rhinestones. I'm confused here - are they talking about a young girl or a hooker's wardrobe?

    Parents can make a difference and affect clothing styles. When Abercrombie and Fitch released a new line of thongs for ten year olds featuring phrases like "Eye Candy" and "Wink Wink" parents protested and the thongs were recalled. Parents need to stand up and say what they will or will not accept. I hope that enough parents will protest the new bras that they will be removed in Australia and if they reach the US that they won't last as well.

    http://parenting.families.com/blog/padded-bras-for-6-year-olds


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    “Say: O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (39:53)

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    'Degrading' Lyrics Linked to Teen Sex

    HealthDay Reporter by Randy Dotinga

    TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- There's still no firm proof that raunchy music makes kids have sex, but a new study provides another suggestion that there's at least some kind of link between "degrading" songs and teenage sexual activity.

    The findings indicate that "people who are exposed to certain messages in music are more likely to copy or emulate what they hear," said Dr. Brian A. Primack, a pediatrician and lead author of the study released Tuesday.

    In other words, teens who hear about degrading sexual practices in their favorite songs might decide to try them out themselves. However, it's also possible that the reverse is true: Kids who have sex just happen to like raunchy music.

    Expanding on previous research that linked sexually charged songs to sex itself, the researchers surveyed 711 Pittsburgh-area ninth-grade students in 2006 and 2007 about their sexuality activity and the songs they liked to listen to.

    The researchers then determined how many of the 279 most popular songs in 2005 were "degrading" because they referred to sex that's "based only on physical characteristics" and features a "power differential" instead of being mutually consensual.

    For example, "Wait (The Whisper Song)" by the rap group known as Ying Yang Twins was deemed degrading, apparently because it included a reference to rough intercourse.
    By contrast, the lyrics of the rap song "Baby I'm Back" by Baby Bash, including the lines "I wanna be stronger than we've ever been/I'm here to cater to you," was said to be not degrading.

    The researchers looked for links between the listening habits of the students and their sexual activity. Their findings are scheduled to be published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

    After adjusting the statistics in their findings to account for the possible influence of such factors as race and age, the researchers found that youths who listened most to "degrading" songs were more than twice as likely to have had intercourse.

    But the findings don't prove that the music caused kids to have sex, acknowledged Primack, who's an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

    "The opposite could be true -- that people who have more sex then go out and seek music with degrading sexual messages," he said.

    Other researchers have linked music to sexual activity, but evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship remains elusive.

    In the current study and an earlier one based on the same analysis of 279 songs from 2005, the researchers did not identify any degrading songs by title and disclosed lyrics from only a handful of them.

    They said that 64 percent of rap songs analyzed were sexually degrading, compared with 7 percent of country songs and 3 percent of pop songs.

    What to do? Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute in New York City, said that teens need to learn how to interpret and analyze the messages they see in the world around them.

    But, "there's no silver bullet," she said. "If you get all teenagers to turn in their iPods, the teen pregnancy rate is not going to automatically decline."

    comment:

    Are they afraid of a backlash from the music industry to speak the truth. If you listen to songs that promotes this kind of stuff then people are going to listen and do it. It's not only the western music that we have to protect Muslim youth from, but also from our own culture's music. Our own music may not be as bad as the western music but it is still unislamic. It still promotes evil. It may even be worse (Indian music for example) at times because many times it contains shirk.

    Ruling on music, singing and dancing

    http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/5000


    __________








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    Pre-teen boy held for rape attempt

    27 Nov 09

    A 12-year-old boy attacked and tried to rape a 19-year-old woman in Borås in southern Sweden on Thursday evening. Police were able to detain the boy after the intervention of a neighbour.

    The 19-year-old woman was taken to hospital and remained there overnight.

    The boy is suspected of attempted rape. The social services and the boy's parents were in attendance when the boy was interviewed by police on Thursday evening.

    The attack occurred at around 7pm. The woman and the boy were on the same bus and the boy is alleged to have been sexually harassing the woman prior to the attack, according to local newspaper Borås Tidning.

    The boy got off the bus at the next bus stop after the woman and walked back to continue his harassment of her.

    He then proceeded to punch her in the face and grab her, after which he dragged her trousers to her knees and stated that he wanted to have sex.

    It was at this point that a family in the vicinity heard the woman's cries and came to her rescue.

    "It was a very timely intervention," Bo Dahleman at Borås police told the newspaper.

    The attack is the fourth in the area in recent days. The newspaper reports on Friday morning that police suspect another, 13-year-old, boy to be behind the other attacks.

    Both boys remain in custody and are being held at a youth detention centre while social services decide what action to take.

    A press spokesperson at Borås hospital confirmed on Thursday evening that the woman's injuries are considered to be relatively serious.


    ----------------------------------------------

    15-year-old 'babyface' arrested for serial rape


    14 Nov 09

    Police in Gothenburg arrested a 15-year-old boy on Friday on suspicion of being the mystery rapist that has haunted the city in recent months.

    The boy is believed to have carried out a number rapes and as many as 30 sexual assaults in total.

    Witness statements along with around 350 tips have come in from the public pointing towards the perpetrator, the so-called 'babyface' man.

    Police state they have evidence connecting him to two rapes, two attempted rapes, and two sexual assaults.

    ”We are absolutely sure we have arrested the right person,” said Per-Olof Johansson, head of the city’s serious crime unit during a press conference on Friday.

    ”There are six investigations currently underway and we believe he has committed many more sexual assaults which we hope to be able to prove," Johansson added.

    The majority of attacks have taken place in the Johanneberg and Majorna neighbourhoods of Gothenburg and the rapists unconventional methods have surprised the police.

    The man goes from door to door, ringing the bells of potential victims and asking personal questions before forcing his way inside.

    Police also suspect he has run into women on a bicycle or moped before carrying out sexual assaults.

    The first attack to be linked to the serial attacker was reported at the beginning of August and the latest incident around one week ago.

    According to Per-Olof Johansson the boy is from the Gothenburg area was previously known to police but not for crimes of a sexual nature.


    comment:


    1. Continues broadcasting of "sex" on every single media and being taught in schools as if it were a life saving skill is bound to show it's negative affects in the society. What an affect it is that now we have pre-teen and teenagers attacking women and raping them. This is the "freedom" they want to export to Muslim lands.

    2. Women should know how to protect themselves, there is no excuse to be a victim (especially from teens) when there are so many opportunities to learn self defense.

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    Birth Control for Kids?

    By NANCY GIBBS





    When the Portland, Maine, School Committee voted 7-2 Wednesday night to make birth control pills available to middle school girls as young as 11, the response provided the latest evidence that adults still have trouble talking about sex with each other, much less with our kids.

    The debate was passionate, as you'd expect over an issue that touches so deeply our concerns about what our kids know and do — and when — and the messages we send them. To school officials and public health advocates who favored the measure, this was a question of confronting reality. Five of the 134 students who visited King Middle School's health center last year admitted they were sexually active; in the last four years, Portland's three middle schools reported 17 pregnancies, not counting miscarriages or unreported pregnancies that ended in abortions.

    Parents may be in denial, officials suggested, they may fervently want children to delay sexual activity, but if you know for a fact that kids are having sex then the responsible thing to do is to warn them about sexually transmitted diseases and help prevent them from getting pregnant. The message was not "value neutral": "We do certainly sit down and speak with them about why that's not a good choice," said Portland's school nurse coordinator Amanda Rowe, referring to sexually active students. "But there are some who persist — even though we don't like to think about that — in being sexually active, and they need to be protected."

    And while ideally parents should be responsible for transmitting information and values to their children, the school has a responsibility to children whose parents can't or won't do so. One committee member, Sarah Thompson, mother of an eighth grader, admitted that the proposal made her "uncomfortable," but she understood the need. "I know I've done my job as a parent," Thompson said. "[But there] may be a time when she doesn't feel comfortable coming to me [and] not all these kids have a strong parental advocate at home."

    Opponents warned of putting girls at greater risk of cancer; of ignoring people's religious beliefs; and most of all, of violating parents' rights to know what their children are doing. Parents would have to consent for their children to be treated at the King Middle School clinic, but the nature of the treatment provided, including prescribing contraception, falls under state laws protecting patient privacy. When talking about children so young, the idea that parents would have no say is galling; they can be pulled over by police if their 11-year-old is not wearing a seat belt, but have no right to know whether she's taking the Pill. Roughly 30% of the country's 1,700 school health clinics offer some form of contraception, but condoms are far more common than prescription contraception.

    This was an entirely healthy argument for the school community to have; but the debate occurs against the backdrop of our larger conversation about sex education that is so riddled with political agendas that the opportunity for progress gets lost. Those supporting Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) are portrayed as being hostile to any discussion of values and indifferent to whether kids start having sex at 9, so long as they use a condom. Abstinence advocates are cast as Puritanical theocrats who warn kids that premarital sex will kill them, a message of fear divorced from fact that leaves kids MORE vulnerable to disease and unwanted pregnancy.

    Many parents caught in the middle wrestle with the charge that it sends a mixed message to kids to urge that they delay sex and then approve contraception distribution in middle school. But does it? "It has been shown, over and over again, that this does not increase sexual activity," said Pat Patterson, the medical director of School-Based Health Centers. And most parents, in fact, WANT kids to get both messages; a 2005 survey from the Pew Forum found that 78% want public schools to teach about birth control, and 76% think schools should teach kids to abstain from sex until marriage. Three quarters of high school kids themselves favor that message.

    In recent years the "middle ground" has been an approach called Abstinence Plus, which would both stress the value of delaying sexual activity but also provide more comprehensive information than the traditional abstinence programs that now qualify for federal funding. Conservative critics charge that "abstinence plus" doesn't really promote abstinence at all; one Heritage Foundation study argued that the typical "abstinence plus" curriculum devotes six times more space to promoting contraception than promoting abstinence. But you could argue that the evidence points to the value of a combined approach, that far from being mixed, the messages belong together: experts argue that the combination of more kids delaying sexual activity and more use of contraception once they become sexually active has accounted for the drop in teen pregnancies and abortions over the past 15 years. Maine Middle schoolers, like kids all across the country, are already postponing sex longer: The percentage who reported having sexual intercourse dropped from 23% in 1997 to 13% in 2005, according to the Maine Youth Risk Behavior Survey. While rates of sexually transmitted disease remain alarmingly high, the best chance of attacking the problem would transmit the values and the facts together, rather than implying that the two are at odds.

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    Parents lose right over sex education

    Sex education will be compulsory in all schools, it was announced today, as thousands of parents lose the right to opt their children out of the lessons.

    By Graeme Paton - 05 Nov 2009

    Pupils in England will be given classes in sex and relationships from the age of five under Government plans to cut teenage pregnancies.

    Children will learn about parts of the body, the facts of life and puberty in primary school. At secondary school, they will be taught about pregnancy, contraception, HIV and homosexual relationships, it was disclosed.

    All mothers and fathers will be able to keep children out on moral and religious grounds but will lose the right of withdraw when they turn 15. The ruling will affect 600,000 pupils a year.

    The controversial move is designed to ensure pupils get at least 12 months of sex education before finishing compulsory schooling.

    But parents’ groups said the decision risked “infringing parents’ rights” and claimed the Government was attempting to legislate in family life.

    Faith schools will also be forced to teach all aspects of the new-style curriculum, including same-sex relationships, contraception and abortion, although ministers insisted they could stage lessons within the “tenets of their faith”.

    Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, said: “You can teach the promotion of marriage, you can teach that you shouldn't have sex outside of marriage, what you can't do is deny young people information about contraception outside of marriage.

    “The same arises in homosexuality. Some faiths have a view about what in religious terms is right and wrong – what they can’t do though is not teach the importance of tolerance.”

    Sex education will be introduced in 2011 as part of new compulsory lessons in personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), the Government said.

    Classes for five- to 16-year-olds will cover a range of lifestyle issues, including drugs, personal finance and first aid.

    PSHE was introduced by Labour in 2000 but has not been part of the National Curriculum, allowing schools to drop it altogether. Ofsted said provision was “patchy” across England.

    In the past, parents have been able to withdraw children from the sex education element of PSHE. Mr Balls said a “very small minority” of families exercised the power.

    Government research published on Thursday suggested four in five parents wanted children to be given sex education, but almost a third insisted they should have the option to withdraw from lessons at any age.

    But the Government said the right to opt out would be removed when children turned 15. It follows a review of the existing rules by Sir Alasdair MacDonald, head of Morpeth School in east London.

    “This means that every young person will receive at least one year of [sex education] before their 16th birthday,” said Mr Balls.

    Margaret Morrissey, from campaign group Parents Outloud, condemned ministers for “infringing parents' rights”.

    Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: “The government is removing the right of parents to protect their children from the explicit promotion of abortion and sexual health interventions in the latter stages. This will be exploited to pressure more schools to deliver government-style sexual health interventions. In recent years, these have been characterised by obscene and lurid presentations.”

    But Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said: “Allowing parents to withdraw their child from sex and relationship lessons up to the age of 15 does not sit well with a statutory entitlement.

    “If it is important enough to be a statutory provision then it is important enough for every child to receive it. This is the only part of the National Curriculum from which parents have a right of withdrawal.”

    _________________________________________


    Parents to be fined if they take their children out of sex lessons


    By Laura Clark - 06th November 2009


    Early start: A sex education leaflet aimed at six-year-olds

    Parents will face fines if they remove 15-year-old children from sex education lessons as they become part of the national curriculum for the first time.

    Lessons in relationships and sex will begin at five, with prescribed content for each age group.

    Parents will still be able to withdraw children on moral and religious grounds, but this right - which currently extends until students are 19 - will be lost at 15.

    Mothers and fathers risk being fined and prosecuted under anti-truancy laws.

    Under current arrangements, secondary schools must teach sex education but can choose the content. Primary schools do not have to offer it at all.

    The shake-up, outlined by Children's Secretary Ed Balls, will affect 600,000 children from September 2011. It drew immediate protests.

    Campaigners said sex education in the last year of secondary school - to which all children will now be exposed - is often the most explicit, with pupils taught about how to use a condom and access to contraception and abortion.

    Religious leaders said parents would 'vote with their feet'.



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    Primark shamed into axing padded bikinis for girls of 7 after being accused of 'disgraceful' sexualisation of children

    By Sean Poulter - 15th April 2010

    Primark has been shamed into abandoning sales of padded bikinis for seven-year-olds following a storm of protest over the sexualisation of young girls.



    The company apologised for causing offence and said profits from any bikinis already sold would be given to a children's charity.

    The decision came after the budget fashion chain was blasted by parent groups and the Conservative leader David Cameron for fuelling the dangerous sexualisation of young girls.

    The store said: 'Primark has taken note of the concern regarding the sale of certain bikini tops for girls, a product line that sells in relatively small quantities.

    'The company has stopped the sale of this product line with immediate effect.

    'Primark will donate all the profits made from this product line to a children's charity, and apologises to customers for any offence caused.'

    Mr Cameron branded the product 'disgraceful'.

    'There is a classic example today where Primark are apparently pushing padded bras on seven-year-olds, which I think is completely disgraceful,' he said.

    'The sort of country I want is one where it is not just the Government that feels outraged about the early commercialisation and sexualisation of our children, but companies should stop doing it, they should take some responsibility.'

    During his party's manifesto launch earlier this week, he demanded social responsibility 'instead of businesses and media companies encouraging the premature sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood'.

    The £4 bikinis, one in pink with gold stars and the other black with white spots, were sold for girls aged seven to eight.

    The parents' online forum Mumsnet recently launched a Let Girls Be Girls campaign to tell retailers that parents do not want their children offered products which 'prematurely sexualise' them.

    Its founder, Justine Roberts, welcomed the decision by Primark. She said: 'It's fantastic. It's very clear that parents just don't want to see this stuff on shelves.'

    Gordon Brown backed the Mumsnet campaign, saying: 'All of us as parents can recognise there's something wrong when companies are pushing our kids into acting like little grown-ups when they should be enjoying being children.'

    Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal-Democrats' equality spokesman, said: 'Young children need our protection and shouldn't be the prey of greedy retailers selling them adult products.'

    Jeremy Todd, chief executive of parent advice website Parentline Plus, said: 'The question has to be asked why it was deemed appropriate to sell such items at all.

    'The increasing pressure on parents to buy age-inappropriate items for their children causes a large amount of stress for parents, who are put in a difficult position, concerned their child may become isolated and ostracised by their friends if they do not have the same things as other children.'

    Child protection consultant Shy Keenan, of Phoenix Chief Advocates, which helps victims of paedophiles, said: 'We know why you should never sexualise children or help to normalise the sexualisation of children.

    'They may be learning how to look sexy in an adult way, but no one is teaching them what to do if they receive robust unwelcome adult attention.'



 

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