Child Hypersexualization: How it Affects Children and How to Prevent it

Child Hypersexualization: How it Affects Children and How to Prevent it

Every day, the exposure and promotion of sexual behaviors in children, known as child hypersexualization, becomes more normalized and even seen as “funny” by some adults.

If you’re still not clear on what it’s about, you may have seen manifestations such as girls wearing makeup and heels, boys dancing in sexualized positions, and girls participating in beauty pageants. These are just some expressions of a form of violence that, although subtle, can affect the physical, emotional, and social development of our children.

6 negative effects of child hypersexualization

Advertising, media, social networks, and popular culture have legitimized the representation of children in provocative situations to such an extent that this phenomenon goes unnoticed before our eyes. In the same way, we are not aware of the effects that child hypersexualization can have. Below are some of those effects.

Causes emotional problems

Early and continuous exposure to content can confuse and overwhelm children and lead to emotional problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

Interferes with cognitive development

Child hypersexualization can interfere with the normal development of children, exposing them to themes and concepts that are not appropriate for their age.

Affects social relationships

Social development: Hypersexualization can affect children’s social relationships, causing them to begin to see their peers in sexualized terms rather than as friends or equals.

Affects the development of their self-image

Exposure to idealized and sexualized models can lead children to excessively worry about their physical appearance, develop an unrealistic self-image, and become convinced that the exaltation of sexuality contributes to achieving greater social value.

Makes them more vulnerable to other types of violence

Child hypersexualization makes children vulnerable to more extreme forms of violence, such as:

– Exposure to explicit content.

– Suffering from some form of cyberbullying.

– Being victims of extortion.

– Being exchanged by strangers online.

Promotes dehumanization

Child hypersexualization also leads people to falsely believe that they have greater value as sexual objects than as human beings.

In addition to leading children and adolescents to prematurely experience certain stages of life, skipping over others important for their development, it can generate a distorted and violent approach to sexuality and affect their adult life.

You may also be interested in: Test: 12 questions to detect child sexual abuse

How to prevent child hypersexualization?

Undoubtedly, parents, teachers, caregivers, and adults involved in raising children are called upon to prevent child hypersexualization. Pay attention to the following guidelines.

What should be done?

– Promote comprehensive sexual education from childhood.

– Strengthen communication between parents and children.

– Promote healthy and trusting relationships.

– Establish filters on the content accessed by children through the Internet.

– Foster a positive body image.

What not to do?

– Encourage the use of makeup and clothing that makes children look like adults.

– Ask them if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

– Be emphatic in encouraging them to always “look pretty.”

– Encourage expressions or dances with sexual movements.

– Kiss them on the mouth or pressure them to kiss someone.

Child hypersexualization is a problem that requires immediate attention and action. From an early age, children can be exposed to this form of violence; therefore, it is essential for parents and caregivers to take action without waiting for their children to grow older.

In the #YoDigoNoMas (I Say No More) Movement, we work to promote comprehensive sexual education as a tool for preventing sexual abuse and other types of violence. Through our digital channels, we share valuable resources with the community at large. Learn more about the Movement and join our in helping protect our children.