The Effect of Talent Shows on Kids
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|   May 05, 2017
The Effect of Talent Shows on Kids

Children centric talent shows are always popular because of the innocence factor involved. The purpose of the talent show is mainly aimed at encouraging children to hone their talents and improve with time.DID Little Masters, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Dance ke Superstars, Chak Dhoom Dhoom are just a few names of this ilk that have rocked the nation and continue to do so each season. As soon as the time for these shows come, whole family huddles in front of the television to watch the talent and drama that unfolds each week. It is love to watch small kids showing their talents with some kids as young as just 3 yrs old. The degree of excitement generated by these shows is huge and every child who can dance, emote, crack a joke seem to be heading for these. But are we doing the right thing in letting our kids watch or be part of such shows? 

But are we doing the right thing in letting our kids watch or be part of such shows? 

There is no doubt that such talent shows open up doors to success and provide a chance to become recognised but isn't this a wrong start?

The participants (who are very young & in an impressionable age) in these shows are thrust into the public eye without any warning or preparation. They experience success and adulation for the first time and there is a sudden change in their life. They reached the top without much of a struggle, not starting from the bottom and working their way up but directly reaching to the top with their journey starting in the public eye amidst media attention.  Children on making it big instantly lose out the desire to work hard as they think they can 'make it' without the drive and determination that those on top had. They think that such shows are the only way to a 'Good Life'. To keep up the TRP rating, drama is shown on the TV. It inadvertently affects the kids taking part in the show and also who are watching because the kids are too young to understand and they are moulded the by the environment they are exposed to.These shows are mostly scripted and edited to cater to the likes of viewers so as to get maximum viewership.Some kids are so young to understand what is going around them. Many of the kids are pushed by their parents. Being exposed to competitive spirit at very young age can be overwhelming. Nowadays the shows are all about making money and raking in it.

Most of the kids of such shows acquire instant fame on a phenomenal scale and indeed it is a stepping stone to fulfil their dreams. They would still be unknown, if not for such shows. When even the most balanced of adults cannot handle such a change and to accept the same from kids is not right. There is a false sense of achievement as after the initial hysteria, there are not many offers and its back to square one for the kids.  There have been reports of breakdown and difficulties in handling the fame more so when these child stars grow up.The kids should be enjoying their childhood while training for their skills so that they still don't lose out. 

The reality behind these reality talent shows is not as sweet as it appears. There is clever and selective editing so as to tap the emotional quotient of viewers and get maximum views. The journey through their stardom is all captured but edited to grab maximum eyeballs. Contestants are portrayed in such a way that specific points are highlighted and negative points are made more pronounced. Words are taken out of context by selective editing and viewers hear a few selected conversation and based on this they judge a performer. This is basically done to influence public opinion for a contestant.They add more of personal footage such as struggles of the performer, disability or a tragedy to generates sympathy wave so the actual result is not based solely on talent or ability. The ‘rags to riches’ story created are lapped by the viewers. This means a child, who actually deserves, may not make it to the top because of lack of sympathy wave.

The judging process is also harsh for the child as the performances are ruthlessly evaluated without any consideration of their impeccable minds. The way the performance is ridiculed or criticised affects the child. Public ridicule, rejection, criticism or even suggestions can result in low confidence, low self-esteem and even depression. Truth always hurts but when said on a public platform, it is harsher. Children being more vulnerable have difficulty in dealing with feelings of rejection and disappointment. A contestant voted out early may be made to feel like a loser or failure. 

There are many success stories like that of Shreya Ghoshal, Saloni Daini, Sunidhi Chauhan but for every child who makes it, there are lot more who just fade back into obscurity once the spotlights are off. Kids want to be part of such show for fame and many of them are egged on by their parents. Some excessively ambitious want their kids to be part of such shows go for classes so that they can be groomed into a talent show winner.They get the impression that popularity is what matters most and many kids imitate what is shown in shows. Kids and even parents consider such hyped success stories as an inspiration and sometimes results are disastrous. Neha Sawant, 11-year-old wanted to make it on TV  but on being not allowed by her parents, she committed suicide. Such incidents though rare have put the focus on the debate on children talent shows and their negative impact. Also, a matter of grave concern is children imitating adult sexuality and vulgar gyrations with parents proudly backing such steps on such shows. With tiring shooting schedules and academic setbacks, the children are losing out their innocence and childhood. Many in the dream of making it in such shows neglect their studies and once the hype gets over, they do not have anything to fall back to.

Kids want to be part of such show for fame and many of them are egged on by their parents. Some excessively ambitious want their kids to be part of such shows go for classes so that they can be groomed into a talent show winner.They get the impression that popularity is what matters most and many kids imitate what is shown in shows. Kids and even parents consider such hyped success stories as an inspiration and sometimes results are disastrous. Neha Sawant, 11-year-old wanted to make it on TV  but on being not allowed by her parents, she committed suicide. Such incidents though rare have put the focus on the debate on children talent shows and their negative impact. Also, a matter of grave concern is children imitating adult sexuality and vulgar gyrations with parents proudly backing such steps on such shows. With tiring shooting schedules and academic setbacks, the children are losing out their innocence and childhood. Many in the dream of making it in such shows neglect their studies and once the hype gets over, they do not have anything to fall back to.

Being surrounded by cameras, many times they have to act in a specific way and this makes growing up tough for them. Fear of rejection, criticism affects them emotionally and mentally. There is competitive stress among young children and situation becomes worse when parents also become a part of it due to their high expectations and yearning for instant fame.  A national legislation to protect child artists from exploitation and excessive parental ambitions is the need of the hour, she argues.

In a nutshell, such shows work well for a great beginning of a successful career for those who are gifted but immense pressure and scrutiny should be avoided. The onus lies on the parents and not on the show or television channel. Many parents argue with judges when their kids get eliminated or get adverse comments and this creates a wrong impression on the impressionable minds. Parents role should be that of a supporter and they should teach how to take defeat in such shows in a positive way as this is not the end of the world. Parents should never force their kids for participation and should keep their expectation realistic. Reforms are needed in this area such as restricting the number of hours, giving education a priority, adjusting shooting schedules, minimum age and most important is to have a psychiatrist on call. Our kids are losing out their innocence and the best formative years of their life. An action is needed now before it's too late. 

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