The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today congratulated ACT Greens Party Convener, Meredith Hunter, on moves to introduce a voluntary code of conduct for retailers to help combat the sexualisation of children as well as a proposal to educate students on the dangers of sexualised images on young minds, but said more needs to be done to seriously tackle the wider sexualisation of culture.

The ACL’s ACT Director Nick Jensen said he supported moves for the ACT to become a leader in the fight against the sexualisation of children and welcomed Ms Hunter’s motion calling on the ACT Government to take action on the issue.

“While Ms Hunter’s motion is welcome, it would be great to see her concern extend to Federal Green policies, where there is a push for X-rated material to be sold throughout Australia, support for girls to sell their bodies for sex in prostitution legislation, and opposition to ISP filtering measures to stop child pornography on the internet.

“In reality it is really national action that is needed, particularly in terms of a review of our broken classification system which is allowing children to be bombarded with overtly sexual messages by everything from billboards to films to music videos,” Mr Jensen said.

Mr Jensen, who also works as a chaplain in a Canberra school, said: “Our schools are seeing an increase in a large range of problems linked to children being exposed to sexual images and concepts at a young age. There needs to be a recognition that marketing aimed at selling products to children through sexual advertisements, particularly in teenage magazines, clothing shops and music videos, is not healthy for a child’s development.

“There is a need for more education in critiquing unhealthy media messages regarding body image, relationships, and a healthy sexuality, but also there is a need for the community to take responsibility to allow kids to be kids and not be pressured on all sides from highly sexualised images and messages.”

Mr Jensen went on to say that further steps need to be taken if the issue of the sexualisation of children is to be taken seriously. “Canberra is the centre of the sex industry in Australia and we are at a stage where approximately 50% of girls and 70% of boys under the age of 12 have viewed pornographic material,” he said. “We know from reports such as the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ inquiry in the Northern Territory that X-rated material can have a serious negative impact on communities.”

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