Media release

AMA calls for new Inquiry into the sexualisation of children in advertising

The AMA is calling for a new Inquiry into the premature sexualisation of children in marketing and advertising.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that self-regulation by the advertising industry is clearly not working.

Dr Hambleton said that there had recently been renewed debate in the media and in the community sparked by advertising that features young children in images and with messages that were disturbing and sexually exploitative.

“These are highly sexualised ads that target children, and the advertising industry is getting away with it,” Dr Hambleton said.

“There is strong evidence that premature sexualisation is likely to be detrimental to child health and development, particularly in the areas of body image and sexual health,” Dr Hambleton said.

“The current self regulatory approach through the Advertising Standards Bureau is failing to protect children from sexualised advertising.

“Stronger action is needed to stop this practice of pushing adult themes to young children, especially pre-teen girls.

“We urge the Government to start a new Inquiry with the view to introducing tougher measures, including legislation, to protect the health and development of our children by shielding them from sexualised and other inappropriate advertising.”


  • In 2008, the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communication and the Arts undertook an Inquiry into the Sexualisation of Children in the Contemporary Media Environment.  The Committee recommended another Inquiry 18 months later.  That recommendation has not been acted upon;
  • In 2009, a Private Members Motion was moved in the House of Representatives highlighting concerns about the premature sexualisation of children in the media.  The motion had the support of Members from the major Parties; and
  • There were complaints last year about an ad for Oh, Lola! perfume, which references Lolita.  The ad was banned in Britain but deemed suitable for Australian audiences by the advertising watchdog.

3 April 2012

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