Thought Provoking Podcasts on the Rising Child Sexualization Epidemic
Raising children in a hypersexualized culture: a mother and father share their thoughts and concerns.
Hypersexuality is everywhere we look: television, music, magazines, social media, shopping malls, and even children’s toys. In this podcast, I discuss raising children in a hypersexualized culture with two guests, and share insights and advice.
Two parents—a father living in Massachusetts and a mother living in Texas—share their thoughts and concerns of raising their children in a hypersexualized culture. These parents discuss the impact desentization and the normalization of hypersexuality have had on their parenting. Parental concerns range from shopping and clothing, peer engagements, video games, to sex education policies in schools. These parents also stress the importance of intervention, awareness, and involvement in their children’s life.
Children are the most vulnerable members of society and seek answers wherever they can find them. Many school systems have yet to catch up with our increasingly sexualized culture. Sex education curriculums are lagging behind as adolescents are continually exposed to hypersexualized content. One mother shares her concerns with policies in her own school district and discusses the changes her district so desperately need.
The hypersexualization of our culture shows no signs of declining and the need for parents to intervene is climbing. Parents must recognize the crucial role they play in providing their children with a foundation of beliefs and understanding. If not, children will seek education, understanding, and morals from the pervasive culture surrounding them.
In the weekly podcast Authentic Moments, parent educator and podcast host Anna Seewald shares inspiring and insightful conversations with experts, authors, and teachers to support parents in their parenthood journeys.
After listening to many episodes of Seewald’s podcast, I was drawn to the “Sexualization of Girls, its Effects and Parenting Role” episode of Authentic Moments. In this episode, host Anna Seewald interviews guest Kristina Grum. Grum has been working with children for over ten years as a parent educator. With both Grum and Seewald holding expertise in parent education, I was expecting thoughtful insights and recommendations I could employ in my own teaching moments with parents. Unfortunately, this episode failed to offer the in-depth knowledge I anticipated.
The description of this episode states that it will “talk about sexualization/objectification of girls, explicit content in the media and pop culture and its effects on young children: body image, self esteem, values, and more”. In actuality, the episode very minimally fulfills what’s promised in the description.
The episode opens with Seewald asking Grum why she was angered and disturbed by a commercial she saw while watching the Olympics with her husband and three children. Grum describes the commercial as “suggestive”, “soft porn”, and “sexualizing women”. I found myself attentive and intrigued as she describes the commercial. Unfortunately, that’s as far as Grum goes. The discussion fails to dive deeper into the significance, impact and meaning-making of the commercial. Moreover, Seewald failed to provoke Grum into a deeper conversation.
As a listener I grew tired of the inconsistent flow and lack of organization in this podcast. I felt as though Grum wasted time with drawn out, disorganized responses that ultimately circumvented the promised conversation throughout the episode. Seewald appeared to make little effort in asking meaningful follow up questions or re-directing her guest. The episode felt scripted with pre-developed interview questions and talking points that lacked cohesion with Grum’s responses. I waited for Seewald to dive deeper into the subject matter and make the connections I did, but was left without new insights on this important topic.
Grum does eventually articulate some valid and poignant points when asking “who is responsible?” She questions who actually holds responsibility for exposing inappropriate sexualized content to children: parents, television networks, commercial advertisements? As a listener, I am once again frustrated as neither Grum nor Seewald dive any deeper than initial queries.
Unlike previous episodes of Authentic Moments, this seemed less conversational and more akin to a typical interview. Seewald’s questions seemed to follow a script as opposed to following up on Grum’s talking points. This frequent lack of true follow up questions and connections—all of which I anticipated—added to my frustration while listening to the 40-minute episode.
As the episode came to a conclusion, I felt disappointed with the minimal knowledge and insight provided. I felt as though the lack of useful insights minimized the severity of the topic. Busy parents who spend 40 minutes of their time on this podcast will be left with more questions than answers. If you are considering this podcast for guidance, support, and understanding, I wouldn’t recommend it.
It is clear in this podcast, Nathan Havner is passionate about disseminating knowledge on the sexualization of young girls and speaks from his perspective on the impact it has in his personal life as a father and teacher, and how it will also affect the children growing up in today’s society. Immediately, the opening scene of his podcast conveys thought provoking insight to a couple’s breakfast conversation on body image, laying a foundation of understanding the prevalence of issues young girls face and now more than ever!
He makes it clear to the audience that not only is he a teacher, but a father of a small girl and despite her being such a young age, he is already fearful of the impact of child sexualization she is facing. Nevertheless, his fear through his voice and choice of words demonstrates, despite his daughter being less than two years old, already, he is preparing and worrying for her exposure and the impact it could make if he does not make impact first.
Despite having a clear idea and direction of where he could elaborate and go on in his podcast , it is short and straight to the point providing education, insight, reality, and thought provoking questions. This postcast speaks to a broad range of audience including parents, teachers, clinicians, health care providers, and members of society interested in understanding the impact of child sexualization.
This podcast sheds light on the fast growing epidemic of sexual messages and imagery that todays children are exposed to. Additionally, it provides parents with the tools to help navigate conversation about sexuality proving insight, education, and practical suggestions.
Discussions provide insight to the reality of how messages can be interpreted to youth, and the affects of unhealthy messages and how misinformation can be utilized. If parents are silent, and not proactive, how then will children develop values and understanding about their sexual world to make healthy decisions.
Sex is everywhere, providing ongoing opportunities for open discussion; however, if children and youth aren’t involved in discussion with appropriate individuals, what affect do these conversations and messages received really have?