A dance group of five 7-year-olds caused a scandal when they danced to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” at the World of Dance Competition. The barely dressed group has opened questions about what is age appropriate for young children.
As a video of the dance group spread online via YouTube(video below), everyone from CNN’s Anderson Cooper to Dr. Phil McGraw was discussing what the girls were wearing and how they were dancing. Dressed in bright red and black laced bras and panties, with black thigh-high stockings to match, the girls danced across the stage in movements that many considered too adult for the 7-year-olds.
According to Tracy Dennis, associate professor of psychology at Hunter College, it is far more common for young children to be sexualized at early ages that in previous generations.
“It’s part of the trend of treating kids like little adults and not giving them time to just explore and play,” she says. “There are a lot more expectations for children today.”
Dennis warns that teaching young children these types of sexual actions makes them more vulnerable to pedophiles. They are less able to see a request as inappropriate when it is similar to something they have been taught is OK.
“If a pedophile approaches a child and says, can you do that dance for me, and can you do it rubbing up against me, that child is less able to distinguish that this is wrong,” Dennis says.
Kimberly Williams, child psychologist at NYU Langone Child Study Center warns that children understand more about what they are doing, and the message they are sending through their actions, than parents might realize. By sexualizing girls in this way they are learning that by dressing and acting provocatively they will get attention and praise. This message lasts with them a long time. – Summer, staff writer
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