The Sexualization of our Kids

Recently our church discussed this issue of human trafficking around the world and what we could do to combat the problem as the church of Jesus Christ. Human trafficking is the selling of people into slavery either for laborious work or to supply the demand of the illicit and illegal sex industry around the world. Often the victims of human trafficking are children. As a dad of three young daughters I was particularly disturbed to discover the numbers of young girls around the world that are sold into prostitution. I was even more disturbed to learn that this issue was not just a problem in Thailand or Nicaragua but that my city was a major hub for human trafficking in America. I learned that Interstate 10, which is 1.5 miles from my house, is the leading corridor for sex trafficking in the United States. All of the sudden the sex trafficking of children became closer to home than I wanted it to be.

What feeds this monster?  The short answer is demand… and we can do something about it.

There are the obvious issues that feed demand for sex trafficking such as prostitution and pornography.  Let me reveal something that may be less obtrusive than pornography or prostitution.

Let’s go to your house or my house.  Come  with me to the aisles of Target or Wal-Mart.  Check out the girls clothes at any major department store. Watch the disney channel for a few minutes but look with this filter. What products, shows, clothing lines, or messages are subtly sexualizing our kids at very young ages?  Why is it that the disney channel has TV shows that depict 12 year olds in dating relationships? Why do half the shorts available for my daughters to purchase have words written on the seat  like “Pink” so that the eyes of people naturally focus there?  What about the Bratz dolls for really little kids?  Take a look at how those dolls are dressed.  Angela and I saw one Bratz doll collection that appeared to be a toddler, dressed like a stripper, dancing around a pole.

In America we sexualize our kids subtly though it is becoming more and more obvious.  In my mind this is the beginning of children being sold into sex slavery. My logic is as follows.  In our culture people are exposed to pornography at younger ages than ever before. Couple that with the onslaught of what we deem mainstream and “OK” for our kids and we have a problem.

My wife and I believe we can do something about the sex trafficking of children and it begins at the lowest level.  Our home.  Here’s how.

  • Monitor TV channels and shows that depict children in dating relationships at a young age.
  • Monitor internet usage and provide clear guidelines.
  • Teach our girls to dress in a God-honoring way while allowing them the freedom to choose what they like.
  • No shorts with writing on the rear.
  • The buck stops with Dad on bathing suit choices.
  • No Bratz dolls.
  • Be aware of subtle messages around us sexualizing our children.
  • Teach our kids the difference between a biblical worldview and the culture.
  • Demonstrate how to dress, speak and live in a culture full of lies.
  • Teach them at appropriate ages about dangerous people.
  • Do all this with a clear sense of peace and faith, not fear!

The sex trafficking of children flows from a perverse demand that is fueled by the sexualization of kids.  Join me by going against the flow in your home.

For more information about the reality of human trafficking and how you can help please visit the International Justice Mission.

  One thought on “The Sexualization of our Kids

  1. March 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Brian, I want you to know that you are not alone and I applaud you for speaking out about the issue of sexualisation of children. Although I am not a parent, sexualisation of a child to me is unacceptable. Kids need to be kids not mini-adults.

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  2. Jennifer Shewmaker
    February 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Brian, I think this is a huge issue. If you’d like to check out some of the research I’ve been doing on this topic, feel free to visit my blog http://www.dontconformtransform.wordpress.com. I talk about what the research says about how sexualization in the media impacts children and what concerned adults can do about it.

    Like

  3. Stephanie
    August 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Brian – Just last night at dinner, I was sitting with a group of good friends (who also happen to be moms) having this same discussion. As you know, I have a young daughter and son, and I am constantly trying to monitor what they are exposed to in my home, the homes of others they visit often, the media, and the toy aisle at Target! My daugther once came home from a local Christian based pre-school with a Bratz doll she got as a reward from the class treasure chest! The teacher couldn’t understand why I was upset. My daughter gave it back, and learned a lesson (I hope) though I don’t know if the teacher did. I have to be so diligent in policing what my kids are exposed to while trying not to be one of “those” parents that are so overprotective their kids rebel. It is a daily balancing act. Thank goodness my faith guides me because. . .well, I don’t even know.

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