Monday, October 26, 2009

The Early Show

Watch The Early Show on CBS tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Children Before Outcomes

A Social Experiment That Needs To End

October 20, 2009

A thoughtful supporter of A Minor Consideration, Elizabeth Miller of Atlanta, Georgia, wrote to us on our Facebook page to ask if these children on reality shows aren’t more closely related to kids involved in medical research studies…and if they are, why aren’t the same ethical standards used to protect them?

In medical research, if a researcher has cause to believe that harm will come to a child involved in a medical study the project must be shut down.


“Children before Outcomes.” What a concept. Is it too much to ask that entertainment executives be held to that same standard the instant they hear a “pitch” that involves children?

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes Balloon Boy. If the sight of a six year-old vomiting victim, Falcon Heene, torn between truth and parental deception, isn’t enough to shut down the reality show industry that is so wantonly exploiting children, then I don’t know what it will take.

Don’t you see the path we’re on? What a terrible time to be a child in America. No one can take comfort in telling themselves they would never expose their own children to this sort of entertainment drivel because the alarming truth is the message is being spread to children all over this country in unmistakable fashion.

If your dysfunctional parents want to sell you out, you are on the market and your Right to Privacy be damned.

Forget the Law or basic morality. The adults charged with protecting you are in it for themselves, not you.

Paychecks and pensions mean more to grown-ups than your welfare, even if it means ignoring existing law and regulations.

If the media can gain a ratings point or two, you, my child, are completely unprotected. Everyone will be paid, but you won’t be.

Paul Petersen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Concerns for Children in Reality TV

More attention needs to be brought to the fact that Reality TV can be very harmful, especially when there are children involved. It's been almost 2 years now that I was made aware of issues surrounding the filming of Jon and Kate plus 8, and the intense stress the children were under. Those who state that the children are just "playing" and are not affected by the stresses of being part of a TV show are lying. Since then, more and more shows have popped up. We've also had the controversy earlier this year surrounding Nadya Suleman and now the Heene family.

A few excerpts from The Wrap:

A Wrap investigation shows that the reality of reality shows is not nearly so benign: at least 11 reality-show participants have taken their own lives – and two more who have tried to – in tragedies that appear to be linked to their experience on television shows.

You can read the entire article HERE. This article is only referring to the stresses that adults have experienced as a result of Reality TV. These adults gave their consent and understood, to some extent, what they were signing up for. Imagine how devastating Reality TV can be for children who are unable to give consent and are forced to participate because their parents are in complete control.

“Children can't give informed consent by definition, only the parents can do that -- and reality shows generally don't cast adults who have the highest level of mental health. They are severe narcissists who are obsessed with celebrity.”

“The permanency of the images of the children potty training, bathing and having temper tantrums on camera will open them up to derision and bullying as they get older,” says Paul Peterson, who starred in “The Donna Reed Show” in the late 50s and 60s.

For Peterson -- who with his nonprofit group A Minor Consideration has been a long-time advocate of safeguarding Hollywood’s on-camera children -- long-term pain is the likely consequence of short-term fame.

“Down the line, once the show is over and the cameras have gone,” he asserts, “there will likely be no help for them from predators and others seeking to take advantage of them.”

You can read the entire article HERE.

I was a little surprised at the huge backlash against Nadya Suleman earlier this year, when the same media outlets seem to ignore the fact that Kate is using her children in the very same way. She has been successful, and now it seems like more people want to follow in her footsteps and use their children to achieve fame and fortune.

Just look at the recent actions of the Heene family, and their history of appearing in a Reality Show and their pursuit for their own show.

An excerpt from

When a television camera is invited into the home, even little kids feel the pressure to get with the program, psychologists say.

Viral videos, reality-TV shows and any other mass-media exposure disrupt normal family dynamics, said Miami psychologist Jamie Huysman, whose practice has treated more than 800 "victims" of reality shows.

The camera, he said, introduces an agenda that has nothing to do with nurturing — and everything to do with entertainment.

"It is exploitation," Huysman said. "Nobody wants to watch normal behavior. Kids have to be co-conspirators to get the camera to stay on." has posted their position on the use of children in Reality TV shows. You can read the entire article HERE.

As it is now, ‘reality’ show children are, for the most part, treated differently from children classified as actors. This is because they are regarding as ‘participants,’ like people in a documentary. This classification excludes them from federal and state child labor laws as the camera is recording their activities as opposed to their performance of roles. As such they do not earn a wage, are not classified as employees nor do they receive the benefits that a classification of ‘child actor’ would give them. The TV production company is therefore not employing these minors and ignore child labor laws.

It's obvious that some people will go to extreme measures, even using their young children, in order to gain the fame and fortune that Reality TV shows provide. Unfortunately, these shows are successful, and controversy sells. It's time to get laws in place to protect ALL children involved in these Reality TV shows. I personally don't believe any child should participate in Reality TV. Although I know there will never be laws to prevent parents from forcing their children to appear on TV, at the very least, these children deserve the same laws that protect child actors.

As I said recently, timing is everything! The Heene family balloon saga is just another incident that should bring to light the fact that some parents will use their children for their own agenda. We can't trust parents to make the right decisions when their judgment is being clouded by hopes of fame and fortune. With all of the recent media coverage, I continue to hope that the right people will step up and that change will happen very soon!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Team 8

I've seen some discussions about my post from Thursday. I’d like to share what I was thinking when I wrote that.

I find it amazing that when you think things may be hopeless, a series of events take place, all the "stars align", and everything just seems to fall into place. At times, we may think we know what is best or how things should go, and actually lose sight of the bigger picture. I have a very strong faith, and I truly believe that God's timing is perfect. Patience is not easy. Sometimes we don't understand why we have to wait, and then it all starts to make sense. I’m not going to question the timing of Jon’s decision or even his motives. No one knows the private conversations he’s had with his children. Circumstances are constantly changing, and I’m just thankful that he now realizes that as a parent, he still has a say. Jon has every right to question the contract, change his mind, and be involved in decisions that relate to his children. TLC may think they own the family due to some TV contract, but TLC is not a parent of the Gosselin children.

It's easier to see things from a different perspective looking from the outside in. Sometimes it takes getting away from the situation to realize how bad things really have become. Please remember that Jon and Kate are just ordinary people with no experience in the entertainment industry. I firmly believe that TLC took advantage of that innocence, and although it's easy to say what should have been done, when and how, sometimes things aren’t as simple as they may appear. On the other hand, something that may seem to be so complicated and hopeless may actually be very simple after all.

Everyone has an agenda. Each strategic move leads to the next, but if the right people can use what they are given at the right time, everything can change. Each party may not even be aware that they are part of a bigger plan, they may not be doing things for the “right” reasons, but when an opportunity presents itself--that is when it is time to move. Please don’t get too wrapped up in the timing of Jon’s decision or his motives. None of that really matters in the long run, as long as he is able to give the children their privacy back.

I hate to see people fall for the distraction of Team Jon or Team Kate. All of that is just to deflect attention away from what everyone should really be talking about—the children. Momentum is moving in the right direction. I’m hopeful that the discussion will turn to the lack of laws and how detrimental “Reality” TV can be when children are involved. The he said/she said, motives, speculation, conspiracy theories, etc—none of that changes the fact that there aren’t adequate laws to protect ALL children in ALL states who are working in the entertainment industry.

Thursday, October 1, 2009