As photographers and creatives we have a responsibility. As photographers we take images of moments...of people...snapshots that don't save lives, or change the world but we do have the power to change how society portrays others. We have an obligation to think about one thing carefully...When we are photographing a child or a young person we must think about their age and how we are portraying them to the rest of the world. Our lenses are an extension of our vision and our subjects are looking to us for guidance on how to pose and what to do. Too often I am seeing images of children and young people (boys and girls) being portrayed as mini adults in shoots. I believe it's the photographers responsibility to make sure the styling, the poses and the interactions of the subjects are age appropriate. I don't believe children should wear any make up for a shoot, children should always be portrayed as confident and content (doesn't always mean they have to smile), young teenagers shouldn't be posed the same way adult models are.
If you are a parent of a child in the advertising/fashion industry don't be afraid to set boundaries or rules about what your child or young teenager will do on a photo shoot. Don't be afraid to speak up if you don't think they are being photographed in a way that best portrays their age.
Simple. Don't portray children or young teenagers as adults...because they're not adults.