Melinda spoke about how to help children resist harmful messages from the media and pop culture and aspire to respectful relationships. She explained how children and young people are bombarded with hyper-sexualised messages from the media and popular culture and how even small children are worried about their looks and physical appearance.
To give context to this, she discussed how the lives of young people are increasingly socialised, conditioned and informed by exposure to porn-related content online – she says the average age of first exposure is at 11 years old. “Exposed to a pornified landscape, young people are ‘acting out’ through social media and sexting, putting their bodies on display for attention and judgement,” Ms Tankard Reist said.
The Glennie School Principal, Ms Mary Anne Evans, said that Ms Tankard Reist highlighted how the proliferation of sexualised images and messages contributes to a distorted view of bodies, relationships and sexuality in young people, hampering their healthy physical emotional and social development. “It is important that we all work together to address this toxic culture and raise happy, healthy and resilient young people who value their dignity and self-worth and aspire to relationships based on respect and authentic connection,” Ms Evans said.
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