10 Sep

My girlfriend and I have become somewhat obsessed with two reality TV shows over the past month or two — Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras. They are constant sources of laughter and jokes for us, but really, there are serious issues that need to be considered with them. Here’s a little background on the programs.

In Dance Moms, mothers whose daughters are dancers send them to work with Abby, a rather intimidating and demanding dance teacher, particularly considering that the girls involved are as young as six. It follows the class, and the mothers, around the country as they participate in competitions. Here is a link to the show’s website.

Toddlers & Tiaras picks three young beauty pageant contestants to profile as they gear up for pageants, typically in the South. It also involves the parents, who more often than not, have their young daughters dress up and get gussied up with things like makeup, fake eyelashes, spray tans, and the like. Here is a link to the show’s website.

The common thread between the two is the age of the girls who are in the shows, obviously, not to mention the situations into which they are put.

So here’s the question: Without commenting on the merits or problems with pageantry or dance specifically, I want to know if young kids — boys or girls, mind you — should be allowed to take part in such reality TV programming. Argue your perspective in 150-200 words.

Your response to this QOTW is due by the start of class on Friday, Sept. 16.


25 Responses to “QUESTION OF THE WEEK – WEEK 2”

  1. Ryan Tavarez September 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    I believe it should forever be entirely up to the parent. So yes. I believe that a parent has every right to enter their child into any activity they want to, even if it is a reality tv program, so long as the said activity/tv program harmful to the child. I don’t believe it’s up to anyone else, beside the parent. I don’t see the harm in it. It may cause future problems, but it’s not up to me to parent someone’s child. If they want to exploit their brat, so be it.

    I can see why others would say otherwise, but you really cant tell someone how to parent their child. Might as well get a few laughs at their failures. On top of the comedic relief, you can take this as an example of what NOT to do to your child.

    While I myself would never enter my child into such a hell. I don’t think there is any reason another parent cannot.

    *I may be playing devil’s advocate.*

    • Ryan Tavarez September 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

      * so long as said activity/program *ISN’T* harmful.*

  2. Susan Kim September 10, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    I don’t think that it is a good idea or for that matter allow young children, specificially infant to six years of age, to be part of any reality TV programming. Those children are so young, their minds and bodies are being developed and they are growing. I think most kids have enough trouble trying to fit in naturally with others. Perhaps I feel this way because I am somewhat of a private person. I, personally, would not feel comfortable sharing my children with the general public being shown on television at everyone’s view, exposed to society at such a young age and as we all know, society is cruel and judgmental. I would not want or feel comfortable with my children being judged, viewed or exposed to the television world until they reach the age of 16-18 years of age. In my personal view/opinion, It’s almost like throwing your children in the lion’s den. Call me anti-social, I am private. I like my life sheltered away from all the bad influences of society. Not that dance or pageantry for that matter is a bad thing, my nieces, ages 3 and 5, are taking dance and ballet classes. I’m sure their parents and other parents videotape their children. I’m good with that, just not sharing them with the general public.

  3. Misty Dowlan September 11, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    In my opinion, reality TV is the most annoying type of “entertainment” out there. The most extreme personalities are usually in those types of shows; the ones that will throw a temper tantrum, or confront someone who said this or that about them or back stab a ‘friend’ to get what they want. The general public loves that shit! Should a child be brought into that environment? In my opinion no! They never show the good things that happen or the nice things that go on, they always show the most shocking behavior to keep people interested. They don’t care what it will do to the people/kids that are involved, they only care about ratings. What sells? DRAMA!
    Competition, like the ones portrayed in “Toddlers & Tiaras” and “Dance Moms” is hard enough for kids without getting the parents involved let alone add the pressure of the media as well. It just seems like too much pressure for the little ones.
    The only time I have ever seen “Toddlers & Tiaras” was because a co-worker had posted one of Makenzie’s temper tantrums. We laughed in disbelief at the way this child was acting. It was ridiculous that her mom just sat there and let her get away with it. She isn’t going to be remembered for her accomplishments in pageants it will be for her outrageous behavior. The same goes for the mom’s in “Dance Moms”. It’s horrible how they were acting in front of their children. Yes, they may have thought they were sticking up for their child, but yelling and screaming at each other isn’t the way to communicate your differences.
    Someone pull the plug before that’s all that is on TV….oh wait! Too late!

  4. Ashlie Detiege September 11, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    I think that it is the parents decision. If they want to have their child and parenting techniques critiqued by thousands to millions of viewers every week, than thumbs up.

    If it was me, I wouldn’t advertise my child all over t.v. (especially dressed as a mini adult). Just think about all of the creeps and weirdos watching them on t.v. Not to mention what reality t.v. has done to so many adults. It has ruined their lives and even drove some to murder or suicide. Kids can be extremely mean and jealous of others. Take Rebecca Black for example (she’s not a child, but still attends school) her annoying song hit the air and she has yet to hear the end of it. She actually had to drop out of school because the teasing got so bad. Parents should probably take the time to think about what the repercussions could be before making their child a reality t.v. “star”.

  5. Amanda Rose Okonowski September 11, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    My personal opinion on these parents is that they are exploiting their children for money. These shows are based arn the kids, the mothers on these shows are famous for their drama and embaressing behavior that they’ll go to any extreme to be known, and when these kids get older how is their mothers behavior for the show going to effect them. These children are to young to understand whats going on or to make the ultimate decision if they want to be on these shows. In the end these shows are famous for the drama thats why people watch them and their still on the air.

  6. Eunishia Hooks September 12, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    It is the parents decision to expose their children. I think think it is ridiculous. Children that age should not be apart of reality TV programming, especially not for these humorous reasons. Makes a stupid impression on the parents, they look dumber than the person that made up those moves along with the costume!! To me it gives the kids the wrong impression on how to be a kid. It’s amusing to me but I would not let my kids watch the nonsense. I think that “yes” some kids do enjoy it to the fullest, but you see those that disagree with their mom’s, or dislike the whole shinndigg itself. The kids should be able to have some say so on what they are doing. Instead of going to school, being a normal kid they get to act as an adult wear mini adult clothes. It shows how the parents play a big part in how fast their kids grow up. Not that we didn’t know that already. Allowing their kids to mature prematurely.

  7. Chad Koenig September 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I think there is no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed on television. It’s no different than all of the other reality shows where people exploit their children and families. I will never understand why a parent would push their kids to compete in something so superficial. I don’t think the network should be held responsible though.
    I have seen the show “Dance Mom’s” and could not help but watch it for a few minutes. Its hard not to watch and judge these people who push their children. It’s the reason people watch these shows. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Most people can watch these shows and unite under the notion that these parents are crazy. It shows us how dysfunctional families can be and makes us feel a little bit better about our own lives.

  8. Mark Ryan Beyer September 12, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    I think that these poor children are too young for such exposure. These parents that do this kinda stuff to their innocent children should have their kids taken away until they seek some professional help and can be proven fit again. This seems very sad to me and I hope someone puts a stop to this form of child abuse. When it comes to innocent children I will go above and beyond whats necessary to keep them safe. Shows like this make me sick!!! Just to think these parents are doing this because they want the attention so they put their child up as a pawn? When I see people like this (the parents) I think to myself wow these people really need help! The main reason this upsets me is because when you put an innocent child through something like this at such a young age it will effect her/him for the rest of their life. When a child’s mind is developing at such a young age, I think its very important to give them as much as a secure safe bond as you can being their parent.

  9. Julie Blattler September 13, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    The idea of having children, whether the age is 7 or 17, on any sort of reality television show makes me a bit uncomfortable. Especially television shows that is centered around the children. Whether the children wanted to be on television or not doesn’t matter too much. It’s the parent’s decision to allow they’re children on the show and if the show is centered around the children, the parent’s are certainly profiting from it. Also, I think kids should live like kids. it’s not “normal” to have a television crew following you around, filming your every move, every tantrum. Especially when that’s supposed to be “comical” to many viewers. I don’t think children should be exposed like that. They’re far too young. Now, when the time comes that they’re 18 and they want to pursue acting, that would be entirely up to the child, but at the age of 7 or 10 or even 16, a child doesn’t fully know what they want and the parents should be guiding them into the right path, not throwing them into the limelight. Not only is the child being exposed to ridicule from the show, but the media such as “trashy magazines” get a hold of these shows and they write stories, usually not true, about these children and their families. It’s so unnecessary for any child to go through that.

  10. Alex Duenas September 13, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I do believe that children (even young ages) should be allowed onto reality television shows. Regardless of whether we record these people for entertainment or not. The parents will still enroll their children into “pageants” and other such things. America is big on entertainment and this is one of the forms of entertainment that we enjoy. I do however believe the parents of these children do exploit there children on such shows (showing them trying to get the upper hand in competitions, teaching their children explicit dance routines…etc). Although I dislike any type of reality television show that doesn’t mean a majority of other do. I believe that these type of shows can have a very serious psychological effect on children by putting them into the “limelight” and having directors demand certain concepts be employed. Because although these reality television shows are “unscripted” how many “reality television stars” do you actually believe don’t act differently on and off the camera?

  11. Ginger Minock September 13, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    I would say only if the child truly enjoys and is passionate about dancing and or beauty pageants. It is a very thin line because at age six kids should be enjoying being a kid and establishing friendships and not thrust into the public eye with grueling long hours and tremoundous amounts of stress that shouldn’t know about until they are in their adult years. Another point of concern for me is that a childs parents might be trying to relive their childhood dreams vicariosly through their own children. This can cause parents to almost become drill seargeants, expecting perfection and being very judgemental , sometimes forgetting that they are still children. Which can lead to future self image issues or feelings of being inferior to others. Then you have to keep in mind the whole world is watching. You also can’t forget about Jonbenet Ramsey.

  12. Sean M. Williams September 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    Toddlers in Tiaras and Dance Moms are just two examples of what reality tv and developing popular culture have done to the youth of our society. Its a tragedy to see what those small children are behaving like at such a young age. Most have been brainwashed into the diva personality complete with their own atrocious attitude filled with spite, attitude, and vanity, deprived of the innocence of youth that most children their age enjoy. Furthermore, one could argue that the wishes of the children are not the issue or motivation behind their actions. The parents often seem like it is their dream to see their child do pageants or dance, etc., and that they are merely living their own desires by exploiting their children. While I’m on the subject of exploitation, these children are being used like objects or pets, their struggles and emotional battles being put on display for the entertainment of society. These shows put children in adult situations, complete with the drama, suffering, and conflict inherit in such a role. These children are being used shamelessly for entertainment purposes, sacrificed in the name of reality tv. I shudder to think of the number of viewers who must think that’s ok.

  13. Norm Vernier September 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Reality T.V. is the most ridiculous, mindless, waste of time, I have ever seen. Now that the networks have thrown children in the mix, its hard for me to watch.
    If disfunctional families need to exploit their children on national T.V. for the entertainment of the viewing audience, the overly dramtic, self-centered parents, need to have their heads examined.When these children grow up with their fifteen minutes of fame, this will lead them on to a larger viewing audience, like the Jerry Springer show.
    Children should not be allowed on reality T.V..
    Jerry Springer has enough idiotic clowns, lined up for his show.

  14. Cora Grimaldi September 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I think it is terribly wrong for a child, especially at such a young age as six, to be on a reality TV show competing. It is essential for parents to teach their children competition and good sportsman ship, but doing it in front of the nation is not a good setting. The parents on Toddlers and Tiaras, and Dance Moms push their child to the extent where they don’t want to do it anymore, want to drop out, but the mothers still push them to do it. These parents are spending thousands of dollars on dresses, makeup, fake teeth, hair and trainers just for a competition to win first place. Having these kids on competitive nationwide TV shows doesn’t teach them good sportsman ship, but in these cases it teaches them that natural beauty isn’t enough, and that you have to be a perfectionist at everything you do. These children should have a normal childhood where they take dancing classes in a studio and put on a performance, or be in the county pageant show, instead of competing against America.

  15. Elizabeth Blaszkiewicz September 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Children are starting to be exposed to reality T.V at a younger and younger age. I feel that it is completely wrong, there is no reason that children as young as 3 and 4 need to be involved in such fierce competitions. The children are being taught that it is okay to be disrespectful and rude. They are seeing parents yelling and talking down to each other, when parents should be teaching kids that things like that are wrong, and that they should have respect for others. I also feel that they are being deprived of a normal childhood. In Toddlers and Tiaras the children are consistently practicing and trying on outfits and other things that just aren’t normal for a 3 or 4 year old and in Dance Moms the children are constantly on the road. This leaves no time for the children to have friends, or a social life. At that age it is critical for children to have those things. Such strong and intense competitions are just not healthy for these kids. Children should be in their home town or cities competing or putting on performances, but to drag these kids across america just to hear fighting and be deeply disappointed at times is just wrong. Its to much for such a young person to have to deal with and handle.

  16. Kevin Paredes September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    It’s solely up to the parent to make the decision of whether or not to put their child into such a program. There may be future problems for the child but that’s all circumstantial. Perhaps the involvement will properly stimulate the child in a positive direction. Alternatively, it may damage their growth or do nothing at all. If the parents wish to exploit their child in this way, then by all means. They are the parents after all. Only they can decide how to raise their child.

    As a society, we let entertainment become what it is now. We accept reality TV with all its facades; and accept children, animals, elderly, the ill, the dead, etc as permissible forms of entertainment, despite whatever harm might befall them. We’ll watch and laugh as the kids and families on these shows behave in obscene manners. Perhaps a lesson in humility and what NOT to do with your kids (or life) can be gathered from these programs.

    Personally, I would never put my kids through those programs. Nor would I bother watching any of them. Exploitation and watching other people act like buffoons is simply not me.

  17. Briana Lack September 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    I think if the children in the shows are enjoying what they are doing, and tell their parents that this is what they want to be doing on their free time, then there is no problem with allowing kids who are passionate about these kind of activities to pursue them. If I kid at any time has told the parent that dancing everyday or being in pageants are not what they want to do, then I think no parent should pressure their child into doing it. Even if they could be making money from this, or get a career someday out of it, if the kid is not happy doing something that takes up most of their life then it should not be a part of their life. If the child is to young to really make up their minds on if they like doing these kind of things then I don’t see any problem in the parent making the kid do this stuff for a few years until they realize this is something they want to keep doing or try something else, making kids try new stuff is a good thing, but pressuring them when things don’t work out the way parents want it is not.

  18. Stephen Packett September 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    I dont think It is a good idea for kids to be on reality tv at all. The most important part of a persons development is childhood. The stresses of school and social interactions play a huge part in a childs esteem. Mix that with cameras and publicity makes for a disaster. Are the producers of these shows sociologists? It seems almost like experimentation. Children belong is schools, and homes making friends and playing. Not worrying about sets, or lights and make-up. I genuially feel if your not 18 this sort of shows should not happen. But we live in a world where you can i guess. In my opnion this shouldnt be happening.

  19. Ben Fawcett September 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Reality shows in general are annoying enough, but there’s a new trend, following the lives (and hobbies) of highly dysfunctional people. To be honest we have enough children growing up lacking morals or even common sense, and most of that is without help from their parents, but now the parents are playing a direct role in this. One great example is “Toddlers & Tiaras”, where you’re not beautiful just the way you are anymore, even when you’re just a three year old girl. These parents drag their kids all across the country dressing them up and putting them against each other, and for some reason I think these children have little to no say in the matter. I say children their age shouldn’t be shown in reality TV.

  20. Matt Knedgen September 16, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    In my opinion, kids should not be able to participate in such events on reality TV, especially at an age like six. When they are that young they really can not think for their selves and the parents should not even think about doing that to their kids. It puts them under a lot of unnecessary pressure. Plus, it gives the kids a bad view on life by making them think that they have to do stuff like that or they should do stuff like that. The parents should let their kids have a child hood and not put them through some fake, trashy reality TV show for some money or fame for their child. The worse part about the manner is that the parent more than likely forces the child or manipulates them into doing it for petty reasons. In my opinion these shows are absolutely ridiculous and if the producers don’t even know that most people watch them as a joke then they should just quit and think about how they are digressing society.

  21. melina vervane September 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    i personally do not think it is appropriate what so ever for such young children to be subject to reality television in any way shape or form. childhood is for fairy tales not pageants and film crews. they should be playing with barbies not being their mothers barbies to parade around. it is also absurd for children to be on tv in my opinion. and it is sad that people find any it it entertaining at all. these poor children are put through hell for what? so their parents can make money off them. raising a child should not have the objective of profit. if you don’t want to be a parent because it costs too much then save your self the time and don’t have kids. they aren’t there to make you money. reality television in and of it’s self is a waste of time in my opinion and it is pathetic that now not only are adolescence and young adults brought into that world but we are breading our children to be self absorbed.

  22. Gina September 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    I think this is the sickest type of entertainment. In my opinion children should be able to live their childhood as kids. Spray tans for a six year old? Really? I believe that the reason the parent is doing this is because they didn’t get to when they were younger so this is their way to do it -By living their dreams through their child. Some of the moms on these television shows will do whatever it takes and It’s so wrong to me that parents could put their child through such acts because when the young boy or girl gets older they could suffer from millions of problems. Or, even worse they could grow up believing that tons of makeup, fake eyelashes, and horrible fake tans are the image of beauty! Sure they’ll know how to speak in front of a large crowd but, think of the emotional toll of them, Some children may grow insecure with themselves due to all the critics.

  23. Mary Collier September 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    I do not agree with children being exploited on t.v. its not right to not let them be children anymore. Kids are suppose to be able to enjoy the things they participate in, Iv’e seen both shows and there just rediculous kids crying and getting screamed at forced to live out the mothers dream. What happened to childeren doing fun activities and playing outside and what about school if there doing pagents or dance 7 days a week between practice and shows hows that work. Plus all these babies and toddlers they should be enjoying life and learning new things not being forced into something they dont even understand. They need to let there children be children and stop trying to make them grow up so fast enjoy them while there little it doesnt last forever.

  24. Derek Delap September 17, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    I think that Todlers and tiaras is absoutly ridiculas but funny as well. The mothers are way more into in the pagents then the children are. If you ask me these kind of things are all for the mother. Its a contest of how old you can make your toddlers look. Mothers spend numerous amounts of cash on dresses, make-up and even fake boobs to make their children look older. However the reactions from the mothers is quite funny when the children are up on stage. Some mothers will perform the postures and moves that their children are supposed to perform and others just admire their work. If you ask me these kind of things don’t allow the child to be a kid.

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