"'Reality' TV is Child Abuse"

Dr. Laura Schlessinger tends to agree with some of our issues, from her article "Reality TV is Child Abuse":


"For the life of me I can’t figure out how the title “Reality Television” came into being as a description of the sick, exploitive, vulgar, humiliating, dangerous, and often cruel programming gimmicks masquerading as entertainment.

“Reality” implies unscripted; a slice of life “as is.” Therein lies the problem. All the situations and premises are contrived, with rewards (so-called “celebrity” and money) for outrageousness, as that is what attracts media attention, therefore an audience,
therefore, profits.

The reality format is at its most abusive, however, in its molestation of the family dynamic and its gross exploitation of children."

Full article here.

19 comments:

mamamitch said...

WOW. It is hard to believe that article was written in 2004.

Doesn't the article seem like it was written by someone who has watched many SEASONS of JK+8?

mswestern said...

I don't always agree with Dr. Laura (even when I am with her in spirit, I have a hard time with the way she delivers her message), but for once I think she hit the nail squarely on the head.

WatchOverThem said...

I agree, mswestern, I don't know Dr. Laura much at all, or what she does. I came across this article while doing initial research after coming across the J&K+8 (PottyGate--filming privacy and nudity issues) show and thought it addressed much of what I was wondering about.

As the show continues and "develops" since then, I think it is even more relevant to issues regarding this family.

Hey Judy Arts said...

My experience on "Trading Spouses" does not confirm the abusive parent theory.

I was placed in the Chaffee home because of my experience with children. The Chaffee's triplets at the time were 7 years old. I believe the production company teamed me with the triplets because of my time employed in primary school. I was happy and pleased to spend a week with three young children. The heavily edited show does not reveal the nurturing, fun and safety the children experienced not only from me, but also "Rocket Science" the production company.

I firmly believe all the so called abuse is totally in the eyes of the viewers due to the talented hands of the editing crew.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Laura is kind of a bigot, so I probably wouldn't quote too much of her work. Her Ph.D. is in physiology, and though she was a licensed family therapist at one time she hasn't been licensed in years. She also once said that parents should keep children away from gay relatives, and is opposed to gay couples adopting children because she thinks it is "damaging" to the children. Her childrearing views are questionable at best. I'm not so sure that what Jon and Kate are doing is right, but maybe Dr. Laura is not the most credible source on what is or is not damaging to children. (P.S. She was estranged from her mother for years, claiming it was her mother's fault. Reminds me of someone else that people hate on for that very reason).

sabrinasmom said...

My experience on "Trading Spouses" does not confirm the abusive parent theory.

Apples to oranges - there is a difference between one show and a series. Also, in the case of the Gosselin 'tups - this has been going on since birth.

Manda said...

Judy,

You did one show, that interrupted your life and your children's lives for two weeks. I dont think you would hear anything about this if Jon and Kate did something like a yearly special on the kids like the McCaughey's do, maybe accepted a few product endorsements here and there. But in this case, Jon and Kate never want to work again. That isnt something I am assuming, that is something I have been told as a direct quote from Kate. So, in order to facilitate that lifestyle, they have to push the production of this TV program. On the backs of their kids.

Do you know Mady hates the cameras in her face all the time? One doesnt have to be an insider or have connections to an insider to clearly see that. This issue with Jodi maybe isnt only about the contract issue - could it be because Jodi has spoken up in the past about the welfare of the children and stepped in and questioned if certain things are best in certain situations, that perhaps Jon and Kate see that as a threat to their dreams of never having to work again? Could that be why Kate had no problem 'weeding' her out of their lives under the guise that the new 'assistant' Jenny, needs more hours (paid by TLC)?

Those kids have to keep working and Mady has to suck it up, so Mommie and Daddy can continue to languish in the lap of luxury they both have grown so accustomed to. And how dare anyone who may speak up on the children's behalf get or remain close enough to ultimately threaten those chances.

Anonymous said...

There was such an interesting post and link on the now-defunct TWoP link about the effects of reality TV on young children. One point I remember was that while children grow and change, their reality TV persona tends to stick. In this case, Mady will always be the "difficult" one, etc. Of course, Jon and Kate themselves are quite the labelers, so they make a bad situation worse.

Serena said...

There was such an interesting post and link on the now-defunct TWoP link about the effects of reality TV on young children. One point I remember was that while children grow and change, their reality TV persona tends to stick. In this case, Mady will always be the "difficult" one, etc. Of course, Jon and Kate themselves are quite the labelers, so they make a bad situation worse.

We discussed that article here on this blog.

Manda said...

Anon @ 5:35

I think this is the article you are talking about:

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/Story?id=5040886&page=3

"It's a huge risk," said Momlogic.com expert Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, a spiritual life consultant and mother of three who lives in Los Angeles. "It can really trap or stereotype a child into a person they're not. Children change on a dime. They could be perceived in a way that is not authentic to how they are."

What about when the children are too young to speak for themselves?

"With younger children, parents are making choices for them that they are not making for themselves," Hirsch said. "I think this is parents seeking fame, not children. As a responsible parent, you don't put your children in a reality show."

"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 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?'" Zaslow said. "I think most people will say no, but not everybody."

"Having a sense of the sacred is having a sense of the private," Hirsch said. "When you put children on a reality show, you're possibly risking everything that is sacred to them."

Serena said...

Jinx, Manda! Both comments even have the same time stamp, LOL.

Manda said...

Great minds think alike.

Fidelia said...

Following the above logic, Joel is likely to be *the* child who may suffer the most. Joel's excessive (according to J&K) clinging to Jon, dressing up in women's clothing (actually the only clothes available supposedly), his lisp (which might be preemie related slow articulation) have brought musings from J&K themselves and outright, although not hostile, speculation online about Joel's future sexuality.

Could be fodder in the future for his peers with these shows having a long life on DVD.

Fidelia

RPW said...

I was in a hurry and messed up a previous comment...
What a mangle, sorry about that. -
It's irrelevant now.

I do agree 'Reality' TV is Child Abuse and 'sick, exploitive, vulgar, humiliating, dangerous, and often cruel programming gimmicks masquerading as entertainment.' But I could also agree 'Dr. Laura RADIO is 'sick, exploitive, vulgar, humiliating, dangerous, and often cruel programming gimmicks masquerading as entertainment.'

I haven't watched much of the Gosselins and just learning of Jodi's situation.
Children as commodity is disturbing. After reading Fidelia's comment on Joel, I feel sick.

WatchOverThem said...

Dr. Laura may or may not be disturbing, I have not listened to her, just came across this article of hers and thought it rang true to what I have thought about filming children day in and day out, night in and night out for years and years.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Laura's mother died and her pet parrot died. It was sad nobody even went to check on the mom's parrot. That parrot's life could have had at least been saved.

Anonymous said...

Someone on the Fans of Reality TV forum said they were at the Sesame Street Park when Jon, Kate and the kids were all the there taping. They said the kids looked miserable and Kate looked....well you need to read it! It's on page 199 bottom post by Trapped in MA. They also said the stroller was being pushed by an unidentified person. Probably the new nanny.

K.C. said...

Anon 12:50, Thanks for pointing that post out. I just read it. Wow...

Link to ABC'S Article: Youngest Reality TV 'Stars' in Danger?

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=5040886&page=1

The article discusses issues regarding children too young to speak for themselves. They specifically refer to Denise Richards' children ages 4 and 2.

"With younger children, parents are making choices for them that they are not making for themselves," Hirsch said. "I think this is parents seeking fame, not children. As a responsible parent, you don't put your children in a reality show."

Anonymous said...

To clear something up... Dr. Laura's mother pushed her out of her life. Dr. Laura tried to have a relationship with her and was continually told to leave her alone for no reason. Dr. Laura's mother wanted no one in her life, not her other daughter or her husband, no one. She died alone because her family was respecting her wishes of not wanting a relationship. Put yourself in Dr. Laura's shoes, I can't even imagine to pain I would feel everytime I read or heard about this topic and being portrayed as a bad daugther. That's not fair. Also, I'm deeply saddened by reality tv and the way they continue to destroy children. I'm more sickened by the fact that there are enough people out there to keep the reality tv machine going by watching these children being abused every day and night.