By Elisabeth Wong
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I am ashamed to admit it but I love reality TV and I know I shouldn’t. It is like a drug, I can’t stop. I love watching the drama unfold and I try to act like I am too good for that genre but I am not, I’m just like everyone else and love to see how normal my life is compared to the people on screen.
As I’ve grown older though, I’ve realized how damaging these shows can be for many of the people involved in them, especially children. Yes, many of them are living very comfortable lives now and are able to do what they want and go where they please because of the fame and money they earned during their time on television but the effects that it has on them are nothing short of horrible.
When watching these shows like Dance Moms, Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo and many others I started to realize the real world effects that it was having on these kids. I could simply turn off the TV and distance myself from any of their drama. They couldn’t and for many of the kids who aren’t even teenagers yet I can’t imagine how traumatizing or stressful it can be for them.
We see countless cases of these kids having severe mental health issues ranging from depression to anxiety to body dysmorphia and so much more because of the high stress environments that they are in.
It also raises the question on whether or not children should be in show business. This is a hard line to draw in the sand because there are roles made for kids and many kids want to be in movies and TV shows. But when you have agents preying on children, their parents locking them into intense contracts for money, and the public eye on them at all times, this is not a healthy way for a kid to be raised and it does call into question what we are supposed to do with these children.
We can’t abolish child acting, that wouldn’t make sense because many many roles would not be filled and many kids would not be able to pursue something they want.
Honestly, I don’t think I have an answer to the whole thing or really why I wrote this to begin with. Maybe it is to rationalize the arguments on both sides, even though I didn’t cover them all that much, but really I have a feeling this is so that I can try to make myself seem like a better person after enjoying these shows for years.