Pune: The recent announcement by Information and Broadcast (I & B) Ministry has ruled that condom advertisements that are indecent and inappropriate for viewing by children should be telecast only between 10 pm to 6 am.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Radha Mishra, Head of Department of media communication for children at SNDT Women’s University said that instead of making it a discreet topic, it should be taken as an opportunity to educate children about sex education.
“It is necessary to educate children about the physical relationship between a man and a woman. Instead of keeping it as a hush-hush topic, we can improve it content-wise and demonstrate it decently by keeping a subtle tone, so that children can be made aware of it. The creative writers of advertisement must be directed to find alternative ways to show the content of it making it less sensual and more
educative,” said Mishra.
Ritu Parchure, a senior researcher at Prayas, said, “Our main focus is on empowering humans, which starts from childhood. Educating children on such serious issues is required. Children are anyway exposed to several other mediums where they have access to such type of information, then, why not openly talk about it and display it in a better manner? Awareness about the condoms is important and it has played a vital role in the declining rate of AIDS in the country. There can be an alternative content of condoms produced on TV.”
While few experts are of the view that not showing such advertisement during the day is sensible.
“It is a good step to ban condom advertisements on TV during family time. This should be extended to all channels and followed up by a ban on all content that promotes sexualisation of childhood. If we have to maintain the innocence of children, they must not be subjected to any sort of sensual activities like dancing on item songs, deodorant advertisements which often confuse what is it meant for. Condoms belong to sex education classes, medical stores, supermarket racks and vending machines. These advertisements are selling titillation, objectification of women and nothing else,” said Child Psychiatrist, Bhooshan Shukla.
With a similar opinion, Anagha Lavalekar, Director of Dnyan Prabodini Institute of Psychology said, “Here, more than TV or any other channel, parental education is important. When children learn that their parents are uncomfortable in talking about condoms, they become inquisitive and find out ways to know it themselves. We have come across children aged seven or eight who carry condoms in their bag and when asked, say it was found on a table or drawer at home. It is not that if they don’t see condom advertisements on TV, they will not be exposed to it through any other means. We can look at the ministry’s decision as an experiment and wait to see the impact.”