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Should Children be in Reality Shows?
Karwang Yohxen, October 22, 2012
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Reality shows have adverse effects on children with some even classifying it as child labour. Children are not yet old enough to face the pressures and stress of reality shows. The pressure to perform well can lead to frustration in children participating in reality shows.

Nowadays there is a great increase in the number of reality shows on television. Many of these are shows which have children participating as contestants. While reality shows featuring children may cause television ratings to go up, there is another grim reality. The pressure which the children participating in these shows face is immense and has proved fatal too in some cases.

Expert Opinion

According to psychologists and other experts reality shows for children are not a healthy concept. These children are under a lot of stress. The harsh comments of the judges at times can be difficult for them to handle. Adults are mature and can handle criticism and failure well, but children have still not reached that level of maturity.

They may take criticism or rude remarks very seriously. They may feel humiliated if they are given a negative comment on their performance on national television. In fact, adults themselves find it tough to handle the pressure of reality shows, so one can imagine how difficult it is for children.

The fear of rejection makes them put more pressure on themselves. According to experts, children who participate in reality shows achieve sudden fame. Everybody knows them and suddenly they are in the limelight. When they are not in the limelight anymore and the fame suddenly fades away, they find it difficult to cope. Not every child is able to take it and it can result in deep frustration or at times even thoughts of self-harm.

Pressure by Parents

Many parents push their children to perform better. They put too much pressure on the children. Also, some parents put so much pressure on the children that when the children get negative remarks on their performances they are afraid to face their parents.

Sometimes the reason for pressurizing their kids to participate in the reality shows is the allurement of the big amount of prize money. Many a time, the big prize money is the reason parents put pressure on their children to participate in the reality shows. Sometimes, the children are not talented enough or passionate enough but still the parents push them to participate in these shows because of attractive amounts of money which they hope to win.

Parents have too much expectation from their children. Parents should also be realistic and keep in mind the physical and mental capabilities of the child. Even apart from reality shows these kind of parents put too much pressure on their children in matters related to academics and other extra-curricular activities as well.

Effects of Reality Shows on Children

There is endless amount of practice required in reality shows. The long hours of practice and rehearsals can become very physically tiring. There have been instances of adults collapsing on the sets because of exhaustion. These long hours of practice practically drain all energy from a person.

The time spent while rehearsing for reality shows is a lot. The studies and other activities of the child may suffer. These shows might come and go, but parents should not allow the academics of the child to get affected. Many a time these children have to compromise on their homework or preparation of exams because of these reality shows. They spend long hours of precious time waiting and waiting for their turn in front of the camera.

Many a time these children are exposed to adult jokes and adult content on these shows. Some people even consider a child participating in reality shows as child labour because the child labour law prevents children under the age of 14 working.

Cases of Fatal Consequences

In India, a young girl who was a reality show participant suffered a paralytic attack reportedly because of the harsh comments of the judges on her performance in a reality show. Another case highlights the fatal consequences of a children’s reality show. An 11 year old allegedly committed suicide because her parents barred her from participating more in a dance reality show.

Experts advice that children should be taught how to deal with failure beforehand itself. They should be explained how to deal with frustration. Parents should not be so glamour struck and pressurize the children just for fame or star-status. Children should have a strong support system in case of failure.

Tags: Television
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