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Clips confusing kids with naked untruths, by Justin Vallejo - 23rd September 2006
(Credit: The Daily Telegraph)

Parents have every right to be concerned about the sexually explicit images their children are seeing on TV music shows every Saturday morning, writes JUSTIN VALLEJO

WRITHING in feigned ecstasy, Paris Hilton arches her back and pouts her lips as she cavorts with her male co-star on a deserted beach.

While few will admit it, many have seen or heard about the heiress's notorious sex video. Now, so can our children -- every Saturday morning.

Whichever way you spin it, the music video accompanying Hilton's debut single Stars Are Blind is a racy piece of marketing.

As such, some child behavioural experts believe the provocative images of Hilton, clad in a barely-there leopard skin bikini, are leaving young boys with a warped sense of sexuality.

They also argue the scenes are inspiring young girls to dress and act older than their years, placing them at risk of becoming the target of paedophiles.

A Saturday Daily Telegraph investigation of Channel 10's top-rating Video Hits program revealed at least one in five of the music clips recently shown contained images and references that could be deemed offensive, calling into question the program's PG rating.

In the clip Me & U, shown at 10.14am last Saturday, artist Cassie pours cold water over her breasts, presumably after ``thinking about what I wanna do with you'', which she sings is to ``love you all the way down ... just where you like it''.

Her seductive dance moves are more suited to seedy strip clubs than in family homes.

Equally Hilton leaves nothing to the imagination, promising in Stars Are Blind to ``make it nice and naughty''.

Channel 10 has attempted to fall in line with community expectations by this month launching the G-rated Video Hits First, which runs from 9am before the PG-rated Video Hits.

A Channel 10 spokeswoman said the new program was created because ``two distinct audiences had developed'' for Saturday morning music videos.

She said expert classifiers carefully reviewed and edited each video to comply with the industry's code of practice, which excluded explicit scenes and nudity.

But even the new G-rated edition still features suggestive videos by the likes of The Pussycat Dolls, a burlesque troupe.

Psychologist Michael Grose, a child behavioural expert who runs parenting seminars, believes the proliferation of sexual imagery via early-morning programs is contributing to an alarming trend of girls prematurely reaching puberty.

``Some of these images could be considered soft porn and we see it adding to the normalising of and the breaking down of sexual behaviour,'' he said.

``Young girls are picking up the message to be older than they are.

``Research shows that less than 50 per cent of kids will get sexuality education from an adult. And that is not just about the plumbing but also about relationships.''

There has been at least one on-air attempt to keep the lurid content to a minimum. Last week's guest presenter Natalie Bassingthwaighte, who fronts the rock band Rogue Traders, told her co-host James Ash to tone down the adult references.

``This show is for children as well,'' she said.

The Australian Family Association's NSW president Mary-Louise Fowler said she had seen the results of the program first-hand after witnessing her five-year-old niece copying dance steps she'd seen.

``I was horrified ... they were very provocative moves obviously copied off these shows,'' she said. ``She had no idea what she was doing but everyone around that did understand was embarrassed for her.

``It destroys their innocence because they will be looked upon by others with impure eyes.''

In the week after the infamous Big Brother ``turkey slap'' incident earlier this year, Communications Minister Helen Coonan announced that the code of practice governing television classifications would be reviewed next year.

``The Government felt the need to determine whether the codes continue to be relevant as television programs evolve,'' a spokeswoman for the minister said yesterday.

A decade ago the National Council of Women resolved to lobby the Howard Government to commit to tightening the systems monitoring the way women are portrayed in music videos.

Council member Julia Biles said they were still waiting for a change and would place the issue back on the agenda at their annual conference next month.


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