Young girls growing up too fast

In a world where Britney, Paris and Lindsay are fashionable role models and marketing campaigns promote revealing clothing and make-up for pre-teens, Australian parents are worried that their daughters are aspiring to grow old before their time.

According to a recent Newspoll survey¹, parents reveal that they think young girls today lack values, watch too much television and are ill prepared for the real world, with an incredible 86% of parents of 6 – 12 year old girls claiming that they were growing up too fast.

And where do these influences come from? 81% of parents believe their daughters spend too much time watching television, with 66% saying they felt they were also negatively influenced by images in the media. Unfortunately, nearly half of the parents surveyed said that their daughters spend little time reading books.

The Newspoll survey also reveals that 45% of parents feel that girls today are without a solid sense of values, with a further 39% saying that they are less equipped to deal with the real world.

One of Australia’s leading publishing houses, Hardie Grant Egmont says it is committed to winning back young readers through constant innovation with its popular, vibrant and exciting Go Girl! series of books.

“Childhood is precious, and we’re seeing an alarming trend where young girls are being targeted to grow up much faster than they should, and parents are rightly concerned,” says Natasha Besliev, Marketing Manager of Hardie Grant Egmont.

Realistically inspirational for young girls, the Go Girl! series has age-appropriate storylines told by characters that are from different cultural backgrounds. And, whilst everyone is different, one thing they all have in common is that their interests go beyond just make-up and fashion!

The Go Girl! series encourages friendship, making good choices and being true to oneself. The characters deal with issues such as bullying, staying active and how to spot a real friend.

“A solid moral base is absolutely essential for when young girls eventually make that important transition from child to adolescent,” adds Ms Besliev.

“Go Girl! tries to instil the importance of these life lessons to prepare them for the choices they may have to make in the future.”

These sentiments also translate online on the dedicated Go Girl! website where every registrant is a VIG (Very Important Girl).

Visitors and members can now listen to the new song ‘Free to be me’ which has been specially commissioned by the team at Hardie Grant Egmont to fully embody the Go Girl! mantra.

Online registration is only available after parental approval and there’s also a page for parents which stresses the importance of online privacy.

The site also houses a fully moderated bulletin board section where girls can send messages to each other and post notes about the book series and whatever else is happening in their lives. Each message is read and edited for inappropriate language as well as tone to ensure a safe and happy environment for all VIGs.

A new Go Girl! story is released every month with special sets and gift-packs available during major holiday seasons. Each book in the series retails for A$9.95/NZ$11.99 and are available in bookstores nationally.

Launched in April 2005, Go Girl! Is now the biggest selling Australian girls’ fiction series with over 1.25 million copies sold.

Hardie Grant Egmont has also teamed up with Camp Quality, a not-for-profit organisation that provides respite for childhood cancer patients and their families. In September a special release of a Go Girl! 6 book mini-series entitled ‘The Go Girl! Difference’ will focus on girls being able to make a difference, but also touching on other important ‘differences’ like thinking differently, being happy being different, and accepting others’ differences. Hardie Grant Egmont are donating $10,000 to the charity, which is an estimated 20c for every ‘The Go Girl! Difference’ book expected to sell.

1. Newspoll research Omnibus (May 2008) commissioned by Hardie Grant Egmont book publishers.

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