Should authorities ban kids’ reality shows? Reality TV shows, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs, Sabse Bada Kalakaar, Indian Idol Junior, Super Dancer, Junior Masterchef India, and many others that have aired on the Indian television. Over the years, they have attracted huge viewership and ratings on the charts. In most houses, adults enjoy such programs with kids. Major credit for this goes to the overtly cute and adorable kids who come to participate. Most of the times, they are dressed up with colorants to their skin, veneers to their teeth, fake extensions to their hair, makeup to their eyes and cheeks, and enhancements to their tiny bodies. Along with make-ups, they are also trained to carry themselves quite well. They communicate well with the judges, the anchors, and audience. And whether it is a song, dance, or playing with a recipe in the kitchen; it becomes very difficult to grade them based on their performances. But many-a-times, kids do cry on the stage when they feel their aspirations are not fulfilled.
Kids and aspirations? What’s that? A lot of kids have big dreams about what they want to do in future. Many of them have the ability to set goals for the future while maintaining the inspiration in the present to reach those goals. But which age group kids are we talking about here? I personally feel, this ‘maintaining of inspiration’ works little bit with secondary kids. Before that, where is the understanding and the maturity level? For short term goals like ‘taking care of hygiene’, ‘finishing home task’ etc. also they require reminders. Whether reality shows should be imposed upon a kid at such a vulnerable age? For such kids taking part in a reality show means ‘long practice sessions’, ‘adherence to tight schedules’, ‘continuous efforts to boost self confidence’ etc. If successful, there are chances to imbibe higher self esteem, and the reverse in case of failure. And it is not difficult to argue that such a thing, would have no detrimental effect on the psychological and emotional development.
A friend had taken her kid for the screening session of a popular singing show. It was arranged at a K12 school. There were thousands of kids. The kids were stranded at the que from morning till late evening. The arrangements were horrible. Initially, there were some water cans, but they got empty very soon. After that there was no arrangement of drinking water. The school canteen was closed as it was a Sunday. Because of the huge que and the crowd, it was impossible for parents to come out of the que and arrange for water or food. After day long standing in que, her kid could finally reach the room for interview (20 kids/judge). The final session took only few seconds. After introduction, the judge listened to only to the beginning of the first verse. And that was the case with most of the kids. Afterall, they had to select, may be, only 100 out of so many thousands of kids! Her kid felt rejected as the judge listened to the song only for few seconds. And her kid was tired, and stressed out after the long day. After that experience, the parents vowed not to take her kid for audition anymore for such shows.
Should authorities ban kids’ reality shows? There was a case reported in India in the year 2008. A kid suffered a paralytic attack after participating in a dance reality show. Parents blamed the harsh treatment the kid got at the show, but the TV show organisers blamed pressure from parents. There are many more examples. Though the shows claim to explore the talent of the little ones, such shows can have an adverse impact on vulnerable kids. Participants of such shows drop their school for an indefinite period and in some cases months together to prepare themselves for stage performances. In the event of losing, making up for the missed lessons becomes next to impossible. So, whether they win or fail, they require enough counselling and guidance before, during, and after participating in such events. That’s why parents should not be so glamour struck and pressurize children just for fame or star-status.
Recently, Indian film director and producer, Shoojit Sircar has requested authorities to ban reality TV shows that have little ones as participants. He feels such shows play with the purity and emotions of children. “Humble request to authorities to urgently ban all reality shows involving children. It’s actually destroying them emotionally and their purity,” Sircar tweeted. Most parents supported Sircar. Somebody from the industry needed to take it up with the authorities. Hope, the concerned authorities will take a note of the matter and safeguard our future generation. They must ban the reality shows involving children.