Consent has been one of the most important topics of conversation in 2016, and it only makes sense that parents would start to broach this topic with their little ones.


A meme relating to childhood consent appears to have split opinion online this weekend, however.


The meme, shared on the Safe Kids, Thriving Families Facebook page, features a photo of a little girl.



The message beside the image reads: “I am five. My body is my body. Don’t force me to kiss or hug. I am learning about consent, and your support on this will help me keep myself safe for the rest of my life.”


The page’s admin went on to explain the significance of teaching our children about consent at a young age: “Supporting our children's understanding of body autonomy has a lifelong reach. Let's do all we can to normalise a child's right to do what they want with their own bodies.”


The meme has come in for considerable praise in some quarters, but many people have shared their disapproval.



“OMG, this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. There is nothing wrong with teaching a child to be affectionate. Once again, adults READING into and over-analysing. The last time I checked, we aren’t asking our kids to go kiss and hug a stranger,” wrote one angry parent.


Another irritated Facebook follower added: “So, we are going to make something innocent and used as a show of affection, and turn it into something perverted? THIS is what is inherently wrong with our country. Human beings scientifically NEED touch for survival.”


Others were able to offer some helpful suggestions to the conversation, however: “I am always uncomfortable when people I know insist the child give me a hug. If the kid doesn’t offer it, leave it. When this happens, I suggest a high-five.”


What are your thoughts on this?