Pre-watershed television shows such as X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) are causing children to lose their innocence, a head teacher has warned.
In a speech to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) annual conference, Amanda Hulme, criticised Britain’s Got Talent for airing a performance of a song featuring explicit lyrics before the watershed.
Mrs Hulme, head of a primary school in Bolton, said that programmes aired on television before the 9pm watershed increasingly feature explicit adult themes such as prostitution, rape, alcoholism and murder.
This is having a detrimental affect on children according to a motion passed overwhelmingly at the NAHT conference in Birmingham.
Mrs Hulme told delegates: “I am genuinely concerned that our children are growing up too quickly and that for many, childhood is being cut short.”
“The toxic combination of sophisticated marketing, the media ratings war and added peer pressure linked to social media, means that not only are our children being put under pressure to conform to idealistic nonsense but they are also being subjected to adult themes at a much younger age.”
“What does seem to be new is the freedom that the media have to introduce themes to our children that are completely inappropriate – rape, murder, domestic abuse, child abuse, self-harming, bulimia, alcoholism, prostitution, drug abuse – all on television in the last 12 months and all before the watershed.”
She pointed to a recent survey which found that childhood now ends at age 12, but said she would “suggest that it’s even lower than that for some children”.
Last year ITV’s X Factor faced viewers’ complaints over a sexually provocative routine by a performer.
The performance – from Lorna Bliss – included her effectively performing a lap dance on one of the judges.
The Britney Spears impersonator, who appeared on the show before the 9pm watershed, was dancing in a extremely revealing outfit.
She had previously appeared on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent with a similar performance and the official watchdog – Ofcom – decided at the time that her routine raised “potential issues”.