NAPNAP Statement on Child Exploitation

As experts in pediatrics and advocates for children, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is committed to protecting and promoting the health interests of vulnerable youth populations. The release of the film Cuties by Netflix as a stated social commentary piece has dominated national dialogue.

The Cuties movie is not an effective, healthy or safe way to further its intended stated narrative of raising awareness of the crisis of online risks and exploitation affecting children worldwide. Notwithstanding the director’s intentions, the fact remains that underage children were sexually exploited for commercial gain to make this film, which is consistent with the U.S. Department of Justice’s definition for commercial sexual exploitation of children. NAPNAP and our affiliated organization NAPNAP Partners for Vulnerable Youth are confident we can effectively work to raise awareness of risk factors associated with online exposure to sexual material and mobilize effective prevention efforts without exploiting children for financial profits and risking their mental health while serving material to pedophiles.

NAPNAP Partners for Vulnerable Youth is a national leader in bringing attention to child exploitation and the related risks facing children today. As pediatric experts and advocates against child exploitation, we are well aware of the justifiable concerns surrounding children engaging in sexualized behavior resulting from online influences. NAPNAP and NAPNAP Partners have mobilized many of our member experts and organizational resources to educate thousands of stakeholders across the country and equip them to effectively identify and respond to these risks threatening child health.

There is an urgent need for parents, caregivers, educators and pediatric care providers to be alarmed about risks associated with online social media presence of underage children. While online networks can foster relationships and provide a sense of connectedness, especially during this time of social distancing and isolation, it is important to also be aware of the inherent risks in such platforms. NAPNAP encourages ongoing dialogue with your pediatric care provider as a source of trusted, reliable and individualized guidance on mitigating risk with expert, evidence-based professional advice.

NAPNAP Partners for Vulnerable Youth is ready, willing, and equipped to work with child health stakeholders to raise awareness and take effective action against further child exploitation.

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