Kids’ reality shows – should they be banned or not?

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What started with filmmaker Shoojit Sircar’s call for a ban on kids’ reality shows, is now turning into a full-fledged debate with more and more people joining in. While film fraternity is divided on the issue, educationists certainly feel that these shows, in their current format, are not good for children.

Of late, many prominent personalities have come forward to raise their voice against reality shows involving children. While filmmaker Shoojit Sircar has called for a ban on such shows, writer-director Amole Gupte termed them ‘barbaric’ and ‘inhuman.’ The Peeper Times spoke to some well-known educationists to find out what they think about it. Are these reality shows so bad for students that they need to be banned or do they give children tremendous exposure? Here is what they had to say:

Dr Usha Ram, Associate Director, DPS World School

Reality shows are created for commercial purposes. For months, children slog in these competitions. In the process, they lose out on little things in life like meeting their friends, etc. It is sad to see them cry when they lose. There should be an age limit for participation in these shows. I, however, do think these shows should be banned.

What about sports competitions? There too, students compete with each other and lose. If sports are not bad, why reality shows?

In sports, things are well-defined. These competitions are different from reality shows as they are not held for commercial reasons. Why should we make our children commodities?

There is nothing wrong in performing on stage but these should be for enjoyment purposes, taken up as a hobby, and should not involve slogging, lots and lots of make-up, exaggeration etc.

Dr Anshu Arora, Principal, Amity International School, Gurugram, Haryana

Activities are meant to enrich children. These shows ruin their childhood. They involve extreme competition which drains children; it takes away their innocence. I don’t think banning is an option – that’s extreme. However, I think we need to develop a middle approach. Why not introduce changes like having top 5 winners instead of just one so that children are not badly hurt? What about modifying final rounds?

What about sports competitions? There too, students compete with each other and lose. If sports are not bad, why reality shows?

If we look at sports, things are very clear. A child knows where he has failed, why he has failed. It is real and things are well-defined. Reality shows, on the other hand, are not real, they are created keeping in mind the target audience. The problem with these shows is that the child fails to understand why his competitor is better than him and why he is rejected? The criteria for rejecting a contestant are not properly defined in these shows.

We should enjoy talent and nurture them, and not showcase them.

Sheetal Sharma, Counsellor, JSS Public School, Noida, UP

More than kids, these shows help parents attain the fame. It is usually parents’ who want their children to perform on stage. Many a times, we see performances where children say things that are inappropriate for their age, like a 5-year-old talking about marriage, etc. They look so grown-up. Under normal circumstances, a child of this age won’t do or speak these things. It is an adult who puts these thoughts in their mind. So, children are basically doing things that parents have in their mind.

Plus, when these kids go back to their peer group, they develop superiority complex. Many are unable to handle their success. Sometimes, they become more famous than they should be. This is likely to hamper their growth. We need to encourage the talent but not in this way.

What about sports competitions? There too, students compete with each other and lose. If sports are not bad, why reality shows?

While in sports, there is clear cut demarcation or marking scheme, reality shows are usually opinionated. The winners are decided based on the perception of judges or preference of audience.  And that’s where we need to be careful.

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