NSPCC. Cruelty to children must stop. FULL STOP

NSPCC inform.

Navigation menu list for sections above the current page
Home
NSPCC inform
Research, statistics and information
Research reports
How safe are our children?
Impact and evidence

Boys and girls speak out: a qualitative study of children’s gender and sexual cultures (age 10-12)

Research funded by the NSPCC

December 2013

This report by Cardiff University, with support and funding from the NSPCC and the Office of the Children's Commissioner for Wales, looks at how younger children perceive gender, sexual identity and relationships.

Researchers interviewed 125 children, aged 10-12 years, living in Wales. Discussion focused on five key areas: the sexualisation of culture, body cultures, relationship cultures, equalities and change.


Key findings

  • children are actively negotiating and learning about the ways sexuality affects them and their lives
  • boys and girls talk about "looking older" in a very different way to "looking sexy"
  • all children, but especially girls, feel pressurised to conform to gender norms
  • many schools have a strong boyfriend-girlfriend culture, making boy-girl friendships almost impossible
  • children experience verbal sexual harassment, but find it hard to tell parents or teachers and are ill equipped to deal with it
  • children are more worried about "scary" rather than sexually explicit images
  • many children are angry about sexism amongst their peers and in society as a whole
  • policy and practice needs to be informed by children's own experiences.

Download the executive summary in English: Executive summary of: Boys and girls speak out: a qualitative study of children’s gender and sexual cultures (PDF, 1.78MB)


Download the executive summary in Welsh: Crynodeb gweithredol: astudiaeth ansoddol o ddiwylliannau rhywedd a rhywiol plant (10-12 oed) (PDF, 1.71MB)


Download the full report: Boys and girls speak out: a qualitative study of children’s gender and sexual cultures (age 10-12) (PDF, 2.08MB)


Download the accompanying resource: Postcards with findings from the "Boys and girls speak out" research (PDF, 800MB)


Please cite as: Renold, Emma (2013) Boys and girls speak out: a qualitative study of children's gender and sexual cultures (age 10-12). Cardiff: Cardiff University.


Related NSPCC resources

Younger children and social networking sites: a blind spot
NSPCC research study into younger children's experiences on social networking sites.

Premature sexualisation: understanding the risks: outcomes of the NSPCC’s expert seminar series
Summarises discussions at a series of seminars run by the NSPCC on the risks associated with premature sexualisation.  Draws out key messages, policy recommendations and questions for further research.

Training
NSPCC courses and resources for anyone working to safeguard children.


Contact the NSPCC’s information service with any questions about child abuse, child neglect or child protection


Print this page