"You're not in a character. You ARE a character."

Aside from the deception and outright lying that Jon and Kate Gosselin indulge in, the thing that disturbs me more is the potential damage to their children. Child exploitation is not something to be taken lightly -- hence the enactment of various child labor laws to protect minors who cannot advocate for their own interests. Laws that the Gosselin children and others like them are not currently protected by.

A piece recently published by ABC News pinpoints several of the concerns I have -- some highlights:
Those kids are not necessarily playing themselves, being seen in their daily lives and habitat," [television writer Kimberly Speight] Nordyke said. "There is a difference, because children in reality shows are letting cameras into their private world. That is definitely more revealing than having a child play a character in a sitcom.
Potentially, it's worse for them to be on a reality show," said [clinical psychologist and Emory University professor Nadine] Kaslow. "You don't get as much distance from it. You're not in a character. You are a character.
Parents need to stop and say, 'is this really in my child's best interest?'" Kaslow said. I think most people will say no, but not everybody.
Having a sense of the sacred is having a sense of the private," [Rabbi Sherre] Hirsch said. "When you put children on a reality show, you're possibly risking everything that is sacred to them.


Not a Sheeple said...

It's terrible that the children can be forced to work because that's what it is without their consent and basically for the septuplets without their true knowledge and understanding especially at the beginning. No one will know the full extent of the damage until long after the show is done. To see that it is damaging one only has to look at the changes in Mady's behavior from age 4 to age 7.

mrs. bethanna said...

I have heard that Kate has said repetedly that she's not concerned about the camera because the tups have never known life without it. I don't know what that is supposed to justify because some kids have never known a life without abuse - that doesn't mean that abuse is good for them or a parent should participate in involving their child abusive situations. There are professional grade lights in almost every room of their home. That alone is enough to change the environment. Kate hasn't left them with any sacred space (though, she fought for her bedroom to be off limits tooth-and-nail). Not even the bathroom is private for these kids. I also worry about the emotional damage that can be done. Right now, regardless of what Kate says, there are (on a slow day) four other adults in their house. And, Kate has been very clear that these people are their on an almost daily basis. What happens when these "very special people" who are "like family" have to move on to the next job? How do you explain it to the child when the show is over (which I forsee very soon) and everyone goes home after having your entire life be under glass? Children are smarter than we think - I think the Gosslein tups and twins know that the cameras are there because of them. Has no one asked themselves what will happen when the cameras leave and these kids are told that the show was cancelled because of ratings? The show exists because of them and when it stops, it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility, if some of the kids internalized that. "The show was good because of me and now it's bad because of me. What did I do?"

Children should not have to carry the family's success on their shoulders. Jon and Kate need to stop depending on the how interested people are about the tups. It's a shame that the Coogan laws don't apply.

Dew said...

How sad these children are a test drive to gage how screwed up reality TV makes little children and what laws will be necessary to protect them. Meanwhile they're being exploited day after day after day, their childhoods slipping away with every roll of film taken. Sigh. Maybe someday PA will have a "Gosselin fund" to protect the money that reality children make, like the Coogan fund in California for real child actors who are actually just reading lines and don't actually have cameras coming into their living space invading every ounce of their privacy including baths. And yet somehow, are much better protected. Hell, I would suggest the Gosselin children get real jobs. At least they would have a few rights on a real movie set.

You know where they could start? Limiting the number of hours these poor children can be filmed on a daily basis. Perhaps they could make it the same amount of hours as a real child actor is permitted to work. Because seriously, what's the difference?

FIONA said...

Great comment Dew! I agree, why shouldn't Coogan's Law apply. This site needs to make this situation more public....more attention. What can we do????