August 19, 2012 11:30 am A very Happy Sunday to all SH readers! It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood…
This question has been posed many times before… but this time the question of ‘what will happen to reality kids?’ focuses on the Real Housewives of New Jersey’s children. The author of this piece lumped the Duggars in with the other “reality” shows… IMO, the Duggars needn’t have been included.
A very interesting tidbit in this piece is that fact that the Loud parents, Pat and Bill, who divorced on their groundbreaking PBS reality show, “An American Family,” are still divorced, but now live together.
“Critics of reality TV often talk about the emotional brutality of adult interactions in these shows. But what about the children? Who’s looking out for the psychological and financial well-being of kids in reality shows like TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” and its new spinoff “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” about 6-year-old breakout star Alana Thompson and her rural Georgia family? And what about TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” and, of course, Bravo’s “Housewives” franchise?
Over the past four seasons of “RHONJ,” the Giudice kids, who range in age from 2 to 11, have been filmed as they witnessed disturbing incidents, including a fistfight between their father and their mother’s brother during a christening party at The Manor in West Orange. Gia, the oldest, seemed especially affected by the feud between her mom and uncle. In one episode, she cried as she sang to the adults a song she’d written pleading with everyone to get along.
“Reality TV programs over the past decade have been extremely irresponsible when it comes to the children,” says media critic Jennifer L. Pozner, who wrote the book “Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV.” “The kids on reality shows have no ability to consent to the level of exploitation of their families, of themselves.”
More than the parents, Pozner blames the “multi-billion-dollar corporations that profit off [such] exploitation.” The networks contacted for this story declined to comment.
“We don’t right now have any research on the long-term impact of children participating in these kinds of shows, but it’s fairly straightforward that there seems to be some emotional impact,” says Melinda Scime, a licensed psychologist who has studied how media images affect adolescent girls.
“Reality TV is not reality. It’s still television, still for entertainment purposes, and children often have a harder time understanding the difference between reality and fantasy than adults do, just because their cognitive development is still going on.”
The performers union SAG/AFTRA covers professionals in scripted series but has no jurisdiction over reality shows, whose producers maintain that the shows are unscripted.
Children in the entertainment business, Petersen says, have been exempt from federal child-labor laws since 1938, so “if a state doesn’t pass specific laws for the entertainment business, children are at risk.” And only California has laws that hold producers accountable for the welfare of reality-show kids, he says, adding, “That’s why these reality shows with kids are not filmed in California.”
As for New Jersey, Brian T. Murray, director of communications and marketing at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, says that unless the child is an employee of the production company on a show, state wage and hour laws don’t apply to them. “If you truly have a situation where the camera is an independent observer and there are no contractual requirements on the child’s time, we aren’t looking at child labor and we are not involved.”
But for many reality TV kids, like the Giudice girls, there’s an even more troubling issue. “What will it be like when these children grow up, and look back on having their childhood documented in this way?” Scime says. “I think there are going to be some things for the children that have been a part of these shows to work through.” NOTE: This last sentence… an understatement if there ever was one!
Not sure if this IS the Housewives favorite band, as the majority of Housewives are not “SLIGHTLY” stoopid… the are DOWNRIGHT stoopid! Yes, “Slightly Stoopid” is a real band!
Brandi Glanville boyfriend update! Brandi’s recent “date” with Jonathan Ruiz was NOT a “love match”… and Jonathan is not her “boyfriend.” My Beverly Hills source told SH that Jonathan goes after many women… Brandi’s date was simply a photo op.
(Thanks to SH reader “cybraxis”!!!)