Children’s Doctor Games and Nudity at Danish Childcare Institutions
This article presents the first Danish study of the acceptance of children’s nudity and sexuality at Danish childcare institutions. The study revealed an important cultural shift in the attitude toward children’s nudity and sexual games, the so-called doctor games. Although these were quite accepted at Danish childcare institutions until the beginning of this century, the study showed that new, pervasive regulations had been established to control the child’s body and its sexuality. A new discourse revealed that fear of child sexual abuse, in particular, had influenced views of children’s sexual games and nudity and that, at times, the child itself was viewed as a potential threat to other children. This marks a new development in Denmark, internationally known for its broadmindedness, and this article discusses the background to this cultural shift in the institutions, and possible implications for the children.
KeywordsChildren’s sexuality Doctor games Children’s nudity Prevention policies Child sexual abuse
The research study presented in this article was funded by “The SL and BUPL Funds for Development and Research.” SL is the Danish Union of Social Educators, and BUPL is the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
In Denmark, Ph.D. candidates hold a position with a salary. Else-Marie Buch Leander’s current Ph.D. position is partially funded by “The BUPL Funds for Research.” BUPL is the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators. The other part of Else-Marie Buch Leander’s Ph.D. position is financed by Aarhus University.
We state that no children took part in the survey. We state that no participants were asked to give information about their name. All individual participants therefore were anonymous to the researchers as the survey was sent to the childcare institutions, and the participants answered the survey electronically at their institutions or at their homes. We only have information about the participating institutions, and this information stays strictly confidential and will never be disclosed to other than the researchers. In Denmark, a survey as here described does not require informed consent from the participants, nor does it require approval from an ethical committee. We therefore state that our study is in accordance with all national and international guidelines for research without personally identifiable information.
Ethical Responsibilities of Authors
We state that we honor the ethical responsibilities of authors in this article.
- Bech, H. (2005). Kvinder og mænd. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag.Google Scholar
- Best, J. (1990). Threatened children: Rhetoric and concern about child-victims. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Blædel, L. (1999). Vadstrupgårdsagen: Justitsmord. Copenhagen: Tiderne Skifter.Google Scholar
- Børn&Unge. (2008). Fortielse er fjenden. Børn&Unge, 8.Google Scholar
- Christensen, E. (2003). Mistanke om seksuelle overgreb mod børn i daginstitutioner. Arbejdspapir 7. Copenhagen: Socialforskningsinstituttet.Google Scholar
- Cohen, S. (2002). Folk devils and moral panics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Creswell, J. W. (2015). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Critcher, C. (2003). Moral panics and the media. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Ford, C. S., & Beach, F. A. (1951). Patterns of sexual behavior. New York, NY: Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1976). Histoire de la sexualité 1. La volonté de savoir. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
- Frederiksen, M., Gundelach, P., & Nielsen, R. S. (2014). Mixed methods-forskning. Principper og praksis. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag.Google Scholar
- Freud, S. (1965). Infantile sexuality. In W. Kessen (Ed.), The child (pp. 247–267). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Friedrich, W. (2007). Children with sexual behavior problems. New York, NY: Norton.Google Scholar
- Furedi, F. (2006). Culture of fear revisited. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
- Furedi, F., & Bristow, J. (2010). Licensed to hug. London: Civitas.Google Scholar
- Graugaard, C. (1997). Sex in Scandinavia—a guide to the essentials. Nordisk Sexologi, 15, 65–74.Google Scholar
- Graugaard, C. (2013). Barnets byrde. Betragtninger om børneseksualitet før og nu. Kritik, 46(208), 62–71.Google Scholar
- Graugaard, C. et al. (2004). Denmark. In R. T. Francoeur & R. J. Noonan (Eds.), The Continuum complete international encyclopedia of sexuality (pp. 329–344). New York, NY: Continuum.Google Scholar
- Jenkins, P. (1998). Moral panic: Changing concepts of the child molester in modern America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Johnson, R. T. (2000). Hands off! The disappearance of touch in the care of children. New York, NY: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Jørgensen, M. W., & Phillips, L. (1999). Diskursanalyse som teori og metode. Frederiksberg: Roskilde Universitetsforlag.Google Scholar
- Leander, E.-M. B., Munk, K. P., & Larsen, P. L. (2013). Rapport for Retningslinjeundersøgelsen 2012. Report, Center for Sundhed, Menneske og Kultur, Aarhus University. Retrieved from http://smk.au.dk/fileadmin/www.smk.au.dk/forskning/paradox/Rapport_Retningslinjeundersoegelsen_2012_AU_09-06-2013.pdf.
- Levine, J. (2002). Harmful to minors: The perils of protecting children from sex. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Lopez Sanchez, F., Del Campo, A., & Guijo, V. (2002). Pre-pubertal sexuality. Sexologies, 11, 49–58.Google Scholar
- Meyer, A. (2007). The child at risk: Paedophiles, media responses and public opinion. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
- Piper, H., & Stronach, I. (2008). Don’t touch! The educational story of a panic. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Rantorp, J. (2000). På den anden side. Copenhagen: Pædagogisk Medhjælper Forbund.Google Scholar
- Rasmussen, J. (2000). Antallet af mistanker er eksploderet. Børn & Unge, 12, 11–12.Google Scholar
- Stillman, S. (2016). When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence. The New Yorker. Retrieved from www.newyorker.com.
- Tobin, J. (1997). Making a place for pleasure in early childhood education. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Tobin, J. (2009). Sex and sexuality. In R. New & M. Cochran (Eds.), Early childhood education: An international encyclopedia (pp. 726–730). Westport, CT: Greenwood.Google Scholar