Every now and then we step back and look at our children and realise how much they have grown. Do you find yourself saying to nieces and nephews “haven’t you grown”, but it is not just a physical growth that appears to be affecting our children and their childhood.
As our world is so full of every means possible to communicate and spread news, images and opinions, our children are being exposed to so much and perhaps are not emotionally ready to deal with everything they come across.
In light of a recent survey it has been reveal that childhood ends at 12, Arklu the creators of ‘Lottie™’ states:
“The results of the research reiterate our own findings. Our survey of parents in the UK and Ireland, found that girls in particular, are being pressured into growing up too quickly. In fact, the results suggested that girls as young as four are beginning to view themselves as sex objects and have a worrying preoccupation with body image”
If this premature corruption of childhood is to be stemmed, the problem must be recognised by society as a whole. There would appear to be a widespread apathy that’s allowed this issue to manifest itself in our children. Everyone – parents, teachers, the media, manufacturers and retailers – must take responsibility and act proactively.
As a toy manufacturer, we have tried to take responsibility and address parental concerns in the development of our doll ‘Lottie’. Our goal has been to provide an antidote to the current fashion dolls on the market, many of which have been criticised for portraying an overly adult and sexualised image to young children. In developing ‘Lottie’, our fashion doll for girls aged three to nine, we worked with two leading British scientists to create a body that is ‘childlike’. Lottie doesn’t wear makeup, jewellery or high heels and she can stand on her own two feet, an important life skill for all girls.
The reaction from parents since our launch last year has been overwhelmingly positive, having won 12 awards in the US and the UK. This is largely a result of the fact, that as a manufacturer we’ve begun to address these issues. Since launching in August 2012, Lottie is now on sale in 14 countries.
We know that parents feel strongly about this issue, and they aren’t scared to take responsibility and act in the best interests of their children, but they can’t act in isolation.”
Lottie™ has been developed with scientific expertise from leading British academics, alongside consumer research, to address parental concerns about other fashion dolls including negative body image, an increased perception of premature sexualisation as well as a desire for a return to good old-fashioned creative and imaginative play. Unlike other fashion dolls, there is no pushing the envelope with adult agendas such as scanty clothes, high heels, jewellery, tattoos or makeup; these are girl dolls intended for girls. Lottie’s body is ‘childlike’ – as you might expect as she is aged nine; her dimensions (with the exception of her head) are based upon those devised by leading British academics, Professor David McCarthy (Professor of Nutrition and Health at the Institute for Health Research & Policy, London Metropolitan University) and Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE (formerly Science Director of the British Nutrition Foundation).