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power than all previous generations. Marketing companies scrutinize the beha- viour and dress of young people in order to sell a stereotypical image back to them. Kids see these images and aspire to become the stereotype they are being sold. In turn, the media reacts by offering new images based on what young people have recreated from the stereotype, and this circle repeats itself unceasingly.

Commercialization has invaded our social and domestic space with images that border on pornography. Magazines, commercials, music videos, television pro- grams,songs and Internet sites are among the agents used to promote and sell sex. Emphasis is placed on women exposing their bodies, seduction, exhibitionism and performance. Little girls are seduced by these images and products, and are encouraged to adopt behaviour borrowed from adult sexuality without having the corresponding maturity needed to deal with the repercussions that can follow. Furthermore,the media offers contradictory images: girls must be innocent and yet seductive, virginal and knowing…

Preteens and teenagers are especially sensitive to outside influences (peer pressure and media role models). They long for attention and want to be “normal” and fit in with the crowd.The sexual discourse, however, is so pervasive that certain girls feel pressured to engage in sexual activity prematurely. Unfortunately, the sexuality promoted by the media is one of sexual acts without consequences, which glorify the domination of men and where women are portrayed as sexual objects rather than equal partners. There is much to be concerned about. In the past ten years, among other issues, we have seen an increase in the practice of oral sex between teenagers and preteens and the subsequent spread of oral-genital infection. In

Our Objective

As a response to the questioning and uncertainty of parents and other adults, we have created this guide to assist them.We are offering various strategies that we hope will enable them to make thoughtful choices and find their own answers and ways to communicate them, for the welfare of their children and to promote family harmony.


addition, preteen girls are increasingly likely to put themselves on diets and to suffer from eating disorders,as they try to emulate the media's restrictive standards of beauty.

Faced with this new reality, parents and other adults responsible for educating chil- dren (extended family, foster parents), sometimes find themselves confronted by unforeseen and disturbing situations that challenge their values. These situations leave them uncertain, embarrassed and not knowing how to respond. Apart from its commercial aspect, sexuality is at the core of our identities, our relationships, our growth and well-being. Young girls and boys risk being short-changed if their perceptions of seduction, loving relationships and sexual relations are tainted by artificial and limited propositions. It is therefore essential that parents accompany their children on this voyage of discovery towards self-knowledge and self affirma- tion, making sure that the essential elements of human relationships- love, intima- cy and self-respect -are given full measure.

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