Without beating round the bush, let me begin by whats trending. Shoojit Sircar, the acclaimed Director and Producer, recently made an observation or rather an appeal.

Said he, “Humble request to authorities to urgently ban all reality shows involving children. It’s actually destroying them emotionally and their purity.”

Well, we couldn’t agree more. We should stand for this “Say No to Reality Shows”. Children have, for long been our little trophies. As parents it is but natural for us to take pride in their little achievements. Years ago, it was at family get togethers that we would ask four and five year olds to break into a song or a poem the moment we pressed the play button. It was a gamble anyway. For those whose children obediently followed the call, it was a moment of victory while for those whose young ones decided to find cover behind curtains, it would be summed up as a simple ploy to buy time.

“Sharma raha hai. Thori der mein khul jayega.” (He is shy. Will come around in a while)

The pleadings and cajoling didn’t always work and back home the same dialogue would resound every time, “Badi beizzati karata hai. Dobara kabhi nahi kahenge kuch karne ko.”(He embarrasses us. We aren’t asking him to do a thing again)

Cut to the twenty first century. Family get togethers have metamorphosed into reality shows. Let us first begin by talking about the channels and producers of the show. It is after all  show business. The idea is not exactly promoting young talent. The idea is to make money, knowing very well the appeal of children among audience. From their innocence to their emotions, everything is managed and even created at times to garner maximum attention. A family tragedy is sometimes, sadly used as a tool during promotional advertisements. The question is are we, as parents, ready to expose our child to this bizarre world.

Coming to a second aspect of the problem. I remember one such reality show where a child came for auditions the first time and broke down on stage ahead of his performance. Yes, it is very normal and he was made to feel comfortable soon after. But for a moment that gave me a glimpse of the emotional, psychological pressure that we put children through by literally throwing all of this in their faces.

The amount of practice and hard work that goes into it is mammoth. Children do not rest even when they fall ill. So desperate do they become…or shall I say that so desperate are parents for this success which is just an illusion. Sometimes the content of the show is also such that in normal conditions we wouldn’t expose our children to it. I see boys as young as seven years of age smitten by female judges on the show. Of course it is all scripted but I certainly don’t find it cute. Innocence is crippled and in a few months your child is much older than he should be.

There is also a popular trend of small children participating in fashion shows and becoming icons and models. Dewy skin painted with cosmetics! Even their skin, dear parents, is not ready for all the maquillage….then how do you think their tender hearts are supposed to deal with it? And we are the ones so worried about the early onset of puberty or loss of innocence when we clearly lead the way!

We must teach children to enjoy their hobbies and learn new things but in the right perspective.

Shoojit Sircar has indeed made a very valid point. I don’t know if authorities will wake up to it but parents, I believe, can certainly guard their children against it. Children are not ready for this dose of over exposure, seething competition, this luring and vote appeals, this trying to prove themselves every single week. It breaks my heart to see a tiny four year old weep when voted out of a reality show. Children deserve unadulterated happiness, not the one that reality shows offer through their rose tinted glasses.

#Don’t strip children of their innocence #Say No to Reality Shows

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About Sonia Dogra

A meditator of life, I believe that the mayhem of ideas can be resolved best by voicing your opinion. A balanced approach lies in speaking your mind without invading the thoughts of others. What I do for a living doesn't define me. So it's best to know me as you read me!

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