AN OUTRAGED South Yorkshire mum has hit out at a sexually-explicit children's fashion craze which is sweeping the nation.
Youngsters up and down the country are sporting so-called 'shag bands' - bendy plastic wrist bangles which look just like innocent friendship bracelets and come in an array of trendy neon colours.
But the idea behind them is the wearer twists two of the bands together - and then jokingly agrees to sleep with whoever gets close enough to snap the bands apart.
Most kids wearing the intertwined bracelets are youngsters in their teens - but because the bands cost as little as 1 a pack they are readily affordable for any child to buy with their pocket money.
Young children across the country without full understanding of the bands' true sexual meaning are buying them, wearing them, and talking about them.
Shannel Johnson, from Totley, Sheffield, says her eight-year-old daughter Harleigh picked up the bands for just 1 in the Blue Banana shop in Orchard Square in the city centre.
But it was only when the mother and daughter got home, and Harleigh told Shannel the bracelets were called 'shag bands', that the shocked 32-year-old realised she had bought something entirely inappropriate for children.
The mum-of-three, from Totley, said: "Initially I didn't see the harm in her having these bands - in my day they were called friendship bracelets.
"But later that day, as she was showing off her bands, Harleigh told me and other family members, 'These are called shag bands - you join two together and whoever snaps them apart you have to shag them'.
"I was horrified. As this seems to be the latest fad aimed at young children I don't think they have an appropriate name and meaning at all.
"What kind of message is this sending to children?"
Shannel added: "I am outraged especially as Britain has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. I would never in a million years have let her buy these bands if I had known what they meant at the time.
"My daughter is eight years old, young and innocent, and I don't want her influenced by such things. I believe a child shouldn't be old before their time.
"I now have my three-old-daughter copying her and talking about the bands."
Charity Parent to Parent helps increase parents' confidence and skills in talking to their children about sex and relationships and has been running free sessions in Sheffield for the last 12 years.
Spokeswoman Kath Broomhead said "outside influences", while a feature of family life, could be "daunting and upsetting".
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