A psychologist has spoken out against the insidious nature of fashion, pornography and diet & alcohol advertisements in stoking a rise in the incidence of mental health problems amongst girls.
Steve Biddulph believes that these areas of modern life are placing young girls, particularly those in the pre-teen bracket, under ‘sustained assault’ as they are forced to grow up ever more quickly to turn them into consumers.
Parents are being urged to restrict television viewing, ban gadgets from the bedroom and pencil in more family time in a bid to combat the phenomenon, which was first noted five years ago.
Biddulph, an Australian author child psychology expert, made the claims in a new book, Raising Girls, writing:: “Problems such as eating disorders and self-harm, which once had been extremely rare, were now happening in every classroom and every street. But more than this, the average girl was stressed and depressed in a way we hadn’t seen before.
“Never before has girlhood been under such a sustained assault, ranging through everything from diet ads, alcohol marketing and fashion pressures, to the inroads of hard pornography into teenage bedrooms.
“To understand our daughters, we have to realise that their childhood is not like ours. To put it bluntly, our 18 is their 14. Our 14 is their 10.”