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Drive to protect kids from sexy television music clips

 

Peter Jean

Herald Sun (Aus.)

June 27, 2008

SEXY music videos could be banned from Saturday morning TV under a Senate committee proposal to protect children from inappropriate material.

A Senate inquiry into sexualisation of children by the media yesterday called for a review of music video classifications and for the introduction of free-to-air TV channels for children.

Warning labels could also be placed on teen magazines with sexually explicit content.

But parents' groups accused the committee of being too soft on the advertising industry.

The inquiry heard evidence that children were regularly exposed to inappropriate sexual material through TV, magazines and advertising.

Witnesses were particularly concerned by sexually suggestive lyrics and choreography in video clips by artists such as 50 Cent and the Pussy Cat Dolls and sexual material in magazines read by pre-teens.

In its report, the committee said that preventing the premature sexualisation of children was a significant cultural challenge.

"This is a community responsibility which demands action by society," the report said.

The committee said the industry-run Advertising Standards Bureau should ensure billboards and other outdoor advertisements did not include inappropriate sexual material.

It also said the bureau should vet ads made by agencies that had been the subject of complaints.

Kids Free 2B Kids founder Julie Gale said the inquiry should have recommended that the standards bureau be replaced with a government regulator.

"I think it should have recommended an independent regulatory body that oversees children's interests," Ms Gale said.

Former Australia Institute chief Clive Hamilton said the committee had largely ignored advice from psychologists about the harm caused to children by sexual material.

"The recommendations of the committee veer from the weak to the pathetic and suggest that the inquiry allowed itself to be snowed by the advertising industry," Dr Hamilton said.

The inquiry called for a long-term study to be carried out into the premature sexualisation of children and for comprehensive sexual health and relationship education programs to be run in all schools.

In a dissenting report, Family First senator Steve Fielding said the committee had failed to put forward recommendations necessary to protect children.

The committee said publishers should consider placing advice for readers on magazines that contained material that might be inappropriate for children.

But it stopped short of calling for this to be mandatory.

The Howard government promised before the federal election last year to spend $82 million on a dedicated ABC children's TV channel.

But the Rudd Government has not committed itself to providing the ABC with extra funding to run such a channel.

 

 

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