Friday, August 24, 2007

It may NOT be a Kid Nation, After All!

I've been wanting to see the new TV show, Kid Nation, which premieres on CBS in September. Kid Nation is a reality show in which a group of kids between the ages of 8 and 15 try to create their own society in a New Mexico ghost town. Its been compared to Lord Of the Flies, the book (and later movie) where a group of ytroubled kids heading for a military school must create their own society and learn to survive after their plane crashes in a tropical forest, killing the pilot.
The previews of Kid Nation make the show look pretty intriguing. What would a bunch of kids do when faced with all of this freedom and responsibility... all the while knowing that their every move is being recorded, to be eventually viewed by people all over the world?
The thing is, though, some people are saying that the producers of Kid Nation put the children into a pretty dangerous situation.
First of all, the youngsters in the show had to be "on" for fourteen hours a day, doing physical labor and generally running the town. Many people say that this violated child labor laws. If the kids had been professional actors, some parents and child advocates argue, they would have been limited to "working" nine hours a day, including time for school or tutoring. But the producers of the show point out that since Kid Nation is a reality show, the children were considered participants or contestants, not professional actors. Therefore, they didn't get to have the same rights as professional actors would have been entitled to.
Apparently, safety and protection is also a right only allotted to "professional" child actors! During the course of the show, many children suffered injuries, some more severe than others. For instance, an eleven-year-old girn got her face burnt with hot grease while cooking, and four children accidentally drank bleach which was being stored in a soda bottle.
Then there's the fact that CBS required the childrens' parents to sign lengthy contracts, promising that they would not sue if anything happened to the kids, including drowning, being crushed by falling objects, falling themselves from great heights, being attacked by animals, being exposed to extreme temperatures, or contracting sexually transmitted diseases. (Sexually transmitted diseases? Hmm...)
Also, CBS apparently did not share with any authorities in the state of New Mexico that there would be a group of unsupervised children starring in a reality show there. Authorities in New Mexico were told that there would be a highly confidential reality show being filmed there, but were not told any more details. If authorities had known about the show being filmed there, they probably would have had the show shut down, or at least held the show to higher safety standards!
Part of me thinks I should not honor a show by watching it, if there is even a possibility that children are being endangered. On the other hand, if I don't watch it for myself, I will just be commenting on what I've heard, instead of forming my own opinions!
So, how about a poll? Do you plan on watching this show?

Kid Nation
Do you plan on watching
I don't know
I don't care!


melody is slurping life said...

My answer was "no". But I rarely watch TV and I certainly would not known about the possible trials of this one if I had read your posts.

Sounds like an investigation was needed. Or was there one?

melody is slurping life said...

That should say "had not read your post). oops

mom2amara said...

I haven't decided yet if I'll watch Kid Nation. I think because of the hype and all the talk, I want to see at least one episode -- to see what things the producers had the children do. Like you, I would like to actually see for myself before I start commenting on it.