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Forced to fame: How reality TV became about children

Rafaella de Britto


Ever since the beginning of history, humans have proven over and over that they are attracted to competition. Whether it is watching a boxing match on TV or watching a school debate, there is something extremely enticing about watching humans battle with each other. To some degree, competition is considered healthy for humans because it is stated to motivate others to do better. However, reality television has done an amazing job of exploiting people during the heat of itcompetition, in particular children. Shows like Dance Moms, MasterChef Jr., and Toddlers & Tiaras all have one thing in common: the exploitation of children driven by competition. It is very challenging to notice this sort of exploitation because, at the core, these shows are highly entertaining to watch.

In the age of reality television, there has formedthe has become a blurred line between fame and exploitation. This line has become especially blurred in reality TV shows featuring kids, who are lunged into the spotlight and expected to entertain millions in front of the cameras. This genre of television has raisedrisen important doubts and questions about the ethics behind these shows, the welfare of the child stars, and the damaging pressure it has caused on these young kids. This is because adults in reality TV give consent to participate in all the drama, and children are not capable of understanding the implications of being constantly televised.

One of the most disturbing trends to emerge from this wave of reality TV is the exploitation of child stars. From Toddlers and Tiaras to Dance Moms, reality shows featuring children have become increasingly popular in recent years. These shows often center around competitive activities, such as beauty pageants or dance competitions, and follow the children and their families as they prepare for and participate in these events. The exploitation of children on reality TV has sparked outrage from many critics who argue that these shows are harmful to thosee children involved. They argue that the intense pressure to perform and compete at such a young age can have long-lasting effects on a child's emotional and psychological well-being. Additionally, the focus on physical appearance and the pressure to conform to societal beauty standards can be damaging to a child's self-esteem.

The rise of reality TV featuring children has raised concerns about child exploitation. On the surface, these shows may seem harmless, but a closer examination reveals troubling issues. Children are not capable of giving informed consent to participate, and may not fully understand the implications of being on television. Parents or guardians may have their own motivations for putting their children in front of the cameras. The intense pressure to perform and compete at such a young age can have long-lasting effects on a child's emotional and psychological well-being. The industry must prioritize the welfare of child stars and establish ethical guidelines to protect them.

Another troubling issue with reality TV featuring children is its impact on their emotional development. The pressure to perform and compete at such a young age can have long-lasting effects on a child's emotional well-being. Being in the public eye can be incredibly stressful and may cause children to struggle to form healthy relationships with peers or to develop a sense of self separate from their on-screen persona. Furthermore, the constant scrutiny and pressure to maintain their celebrity status can lead children to prioritize their appearances or success in the competition over their own well-being. The industry must take steps to protect the mental health of child stars and ensure that they are not subjected to unnecessary stress or pressure.

To conclude, the increasing trend of reality TV featuring children has sparked a necessary discussion about the ethics and impact of these shows. While they may be entertaining in the short term, it is crucial to consider the long-term effects on the children involved. The entertainment industry and society as a whole must prioritize the welfare of child stars and establish ethical guidelines to prevent exploitation. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves if the benefits of these shows outweigh the potential harm to the children involved. It is our responsibility as a society to protect our children and ensure that they are not being exploited for our entertainment.

Moreover, we should also examine our own role as viewers and consumers of reality TV featuring children. Our demand for this kind of entertainment fuels the industry's supply, and we have a responsibility to be critical of the content we consume. We must ask ourselves whether we are contributing to the exploitation of child stars and whether the entertainment we seek is worth the potential harm to these young individuals. By raising awareness and advocating for ethical standards in the entertainment industry, we can help protect the welfare of child stars and ensure that the next generation is not sacrificed for our entertainment.


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