Wednesday, August 27, 2008


How to help your daughter avoid the walk of shame...

Logo a No-Go: Make your house as unmedia and unlogo-focused as possible.

Get Unplugged: Avoid electronic toys linked to marketing. No televisions or computers in kids’ bedrooms.

Be Realistic: It’s not practical to protect kids from all forms of media all the time, so moderate their media interaction. Limit screen time — this teaches kids to self-regulate. Remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for kids under the age of 2.

Just Deal: If you and your child see a movie trailer that’s far more sexually charged than the PG film you’re about to see, talk about it. Ask her why she liked the trailer. Tell her that just because there’s, say, a pretty girl in the movie, doesn’t mean it’s age-appropriate.

Stay Connected: Communicate with your kids. You want them to feel it’s helpful to talk to you, especially as they get older. So, if your darling Madison sees a nail polish commercial and mentions that her BFF is allowed to paint her tootsies, have a give-and-take conversation about it. Include, “It’s fun to put on nail polish, but we don’t do it in our house yet.”

Play the Field: Encourage open-ended play — dolls, blocks, art supplies, dress-up, storytelling — because it promotes imagination, socialization and problem solving. Keep in mind that online communities such as Club Penguin and Webkinz can be isolating and are about virtual lives instead of real world experience.

Gender Bender: Expose kids to a broad range of activities and try to avoid stereotypes. Teach kids that boys and girls can be friends, not just boyfriend and girlfriend.

Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. (of award-winning Killing Us Softly) are the authors of So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood And What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Kids.

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