The Sexualization of Childhood

The Sexualization of Childhood

by Sharna Olfman


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Only a generation or two ago, childhood in the United States was understood to be a unique and vulnerable stage of development; a time for play and protection from adult preoccupations and responsibilities. In recent decades however, we appear to have jettisoned these norms, and the lines that separate the lifestyles of even very young children from adults are blurring. As widely known experts on the team that created this book explain, children begin formal education now in preschool, dress like adults, listen to the same music, play the same video games, explore the same Internet sites, and watch explicit depictions of sex and violence on TV and in movies. What is the impact of immersing children in a sexualized world? The Sexualization of Childhood first explains the nature of healthy sexual development. It then describes the ways in which children are being sexualized, and the physical and psychological consequences. It then looks at the lower and lower age at which girls are experiencing puberty, that reduction being fueled by the pseudoestrogens in so many of our foods and products, as well as obesity. Finally, it examines what we can do legally, politically, and as caregivers to protect children from developmentally inappropriate sexual experiences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275999858
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/30/2008
Series: Childhood in America Series
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sharna Olfman is Series Editor for the Praeger series Childhood in America. A Clinical Psychologist and Full Professor of Developmental Psychology at Point Park University, she is also Founding Director of the annual Childhood and Society Symposium held at the university. Olfman is the author or editor of six previous Praeger books, including All Work and No Play (2003), Childhood Lost (2005), No Child Left Different, (2006), and Bipolar Children (2007).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Sexualization of Childhood

Pornography, Lad Mags, Video Games and Boys

A Royal Juggernaut

Girls Gone Grown-Up

Somethings Happening Here

So Sexy So Soon

Still on the Auction Block

Sexualization and Child Sexual Abuse

The Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth

Childified Women

Prostitution and the Sexualization of Children

About the Editor and the Contributors


What People are Saying About This

Laura E. Berk

"An articulate, compelling expose of the numerous ways in which the psychosexual and gender development of U.S. children has been derailed by an overly sexualized culture negligent in safeguarding its youngest members. Professor Olfman's exceptionally fine editing is again apparent. She has assembled a set of first-rate contributions by leading authorities who lay out the evidence with clarity and conviction and who also help us move toward solutions—by detailing ways that parents, mental health professionals, educators, and policy makers can intervene effectively."

Stuart Shanker

"Every one of us needs to read The Sexualization of Childhood and then ask ourselves the following questions: How did we allow such a harrowing state-of-affairs to arise? What can we do to correct it? And until this has been achieved, how can we best protect our children from the toxic experiences and influences that are so powerfully depicted in this book?"

Joel Bakan

"This outstanding collection of essays, written by an eminent group of scholars and experts, reveals an alarming new danger to children—routine exposure to frighteningly toxic ideas about sex and sexuality. What harm does this cause to children, the adults they become, and society? That is the central question addressed by this book, and the answers it provides, always through rigorous research and cogent analyses, suggest we should be very concerned. The book is essential reading for anyone who cares about the fate of children—and of society as a whole."

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