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Last week, Việt Nam News asked readers about child reality shows. Here are some of the answers:
Nguyễn Thùy Linh, Vietnamese, Hà Nội
Everything has two sides, and so do child reality shows. Child reality shows can help children become more confident and cleverer. It helps them discover their talent. However, these shows can spoil children because of their sudden fame. It has been said that child reality shows commercialise children because its purpose is for money, not for discovering and nourishing children’s passions. It could interrupt children’s studying because of their events, advertising, etc. Despite various opinions, I still think we should encourage our children to participate in reality shows. As a mother, I would like my child to have a chance to join this kind of show. If my child took part in this show, I would be by his side everywhere, every time, to teach him how to face everything and handle spiteful comments. Child reality shows themselves aren’t at fault because whether children’s lives are disrupted depends on the way their parents educate them and how they face everything.
Hoàng Hoa Sen, Vietnamese, Hà Nội
As I can see, child reality shows have become more and more popular in Việt Nam.
I like watching child reality shows. Whenever I have some free time, I often watch them. I like children and it’s great for me to see their innocence, their smiles, and listen to their lovely voices that are featured on television.
I believe that those reality shows may be good for children as they can make child participants more confident or help them nurture their talent. Many talented but unknown children can show off their talent to the public and therefore, they will be encouraged to develop their talents.
However, I understand that the children who participate in these shows face immense pressure.
Some psychologists and other experts say reality shows for children are not a healthy concept. These children are under a lot of stress. The harsh comments of the judges at times can be difficult for them to handle.
Moreover, they also face pressure from their parents. I know that many parents pushed their children to perform better, and therefore put too much pressure on them. When children receive negative remarks on their performances, they are afraid to face their parents.
However, I am still optimistic about those child reality shows. If, in the future, I have a child, I also hope that he or she can take part in a reality show.
Of course, I won’t put any pressure on my children.
I will teach them how to deal with failure and with frustration. And I will support them in case of failure.
Luna DB, Italian
In my country, Italy, child reality shows are quite popular, but not as popular as they are in other countries like the United States or Great Britain. My opinion about TV programmes involving children is mixed.
Let’s take as example two well-known shows in Italy, MasterChef Junior and Sos Tata (inspired by the American show Nanny 911, it ended in 2014). The first one, in my opinion, does not raise particular ethical concerns. It is a cooking competition, children have fun and they do not feel pressured, as the judges always smile and never make the children feel uncomfortable. However, in the Italian version of Nanny 911, children faced incredibly stressful situations and were constantly under the eye of cameras. The Italian Pediatric Association also wrote a letter to a national newspaper denouncing the show as dangerous. Babies just 12 months old, for instance, were left crying on their cots in order to teach them to sleep alone. So, I think that the respect of children’s dignity and mental health should be the ultimate arbiter of whether child reality shows are acceptable or not.
Grey Kanit, Australian, Hà Nội
There are still a buttload of impoverished ethnic minority kiddies that deserve more concern than cheeky urban chubsters making regrettable arses of themselves at their parents’ misguided direction on VTV. I used to work with a child actor from an Australian TV show that ended up in a retail management position, which obviously wasn’t his dream, but while he wasn’t super happy about the reactions he received, they were far from life destroying. The Vietnamese TV reality kiddies will be ok.
Trương Hoàng Hải Nam, Vietnamese, Hà Nội
As long as the parents don’t drown them in fame they’ll be okay, especially because Vietnamese reality show kids rarely make it to celebrity status, and the few who have become famous turned out fine so far. Like video games, music and movies, we need serious studies showing evidence for any positive or negative impacts of reality shows on children.
Hà Phương, Vietnamese, Hà Nội
My kid and I like watching reality shows on TV such as Dad, where are we going?, which shows field trips taken by Vietnamese celebrities and their kids, as well as Đồ Rê Mí or The Voice Kid, two singing contests for children. I think that if my son could participate in reality shows, he would have the chance to gain new experiences and learn about the outside world. I hope that such participation would make him more confident and that his potential abilities would be revealed.
Trần Quang Hanh, Vietnamese, Thái Bình
We like watching reality shows, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to let kids, particularly those at early ages, to join such shows. I’m afraid that show biz could have negative impacts on children’s personal characteristics development. I see show biz as a complicated world, and it would be hard for children to adapt. They are too young to know what is bad or good for them without parents’ consultation. I think we should help children find their talents or passions and nurture them rather than placing them into a complicated world so early.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Hà Nội
Sesame Street was and is a great TV show for kids. It has been running for 46 years, has great guests and is highly educational. Reality TV is the opposite. People will do anything to become rich and famous.
Kids do what parents tell them. Child beauty pageants are cruel and give a false sense of values. Fathers push their sons into sports hoping they will become professional athletes.
Nothing is real about reality TV. They are scripted with planned or fake conflicts so ‘actors’ react as we watch their embarrassment at home. It’s always fun to watch someone else make a mistake.
These shows have great photographic access to places we would not normally be able to see. In the modern world, we don’t need TV, social media or computer games. -- VNS