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A Brave New World?

It was probably inevitable that the craze known as Reality TV would extend to kids. Folks who'd never consider signing a 22-page waiver form to hand their kids over to a television network shooting a "Lord of the Flies"-like show call it child exploitation.

Every day, the din grows louder to never let the show -- in which 40 children between the ages of 8 and 15 are tasked with forming a town in a deserted New Mexico location -- see the light of day. Newsweek looks hard at the blame game, saying that to find fault with CBS is too easy. Rather, we should look hard at the entire entertainment genre aimed at kids.

What were those parents thinking? Was it all about making $5,000? Three moms all told the L.A. Times that they never doubted the integrity of the people behind the show. For two, it was about teaching their kids self-reliance, to succeed and fail. Another signed off after her daughter talked her into it.

Given that none of us has seen more than a short preview, it's hard to make firm judgments. But what do you think thus far? Will you and/or your kids tune in on Sept. 19, if the show airs? Is putting kids to work on a television set much different than sending them to a working ranch for a summer? Or does the show simply make you cringe?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 29, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Tweens
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Comments


My 8 year old and I were kind of excited by the concept of the show and the few previews. We are planning to watch it together. I was curious to see how the kids handled the situations and what came of it. I do think that parents of these kids should not be getting angry after the fact. If you were concerned you should not have signed the 22 page waiver and sent them off in the first place. Being the parent of a child in this age range I am not sure I would have done it- even for 5,000 dollars.

Posted by: Mich | August 29, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Mmmm...

Parents pimp out their kids for $5,000 for the summer and then have REGRETS.

The mothers sound like real winners; "her daughter talked her into it"? Sounds like the tail wagging the dog!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I find it revealing that CBS deliberately placed this show in a state with very lax child labor laws (which they later tightened after the fact). It's just more gratuitous voyeurism, except this time it is with children instead of (presumably) adults.

Posted by: johnl | August 29, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Watching "American Idol" is my one and only shameful reality TV secret, but I really think the genre is going too far. First with this stupid stunt and now I understand there's some reality show about murder. It turns my stomach. I'm praying this is a dying trend.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 29, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

It seems I'm in the minority here, but the show looks interesting. When I was a kid, I would have loved the idea and probably would have wanted to sign up.

That said, I cannot imagine parents signing their kids up without significant pressure to do so from the kids. It looks like a pretty serious deal, and not something I'd be willing to push my daughter into.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 29, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Apparently I've been hiding under a rock out here in Texas and since I watch very little television, I don't know what this show is about or why there's an outrage "all of a sudden" if it's been planned for a while. Can someone clue me in?

Posted by: momof3boys | August 29, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Who the heck came up with the idea that the "kids were on their own"? Who do you think was operating all the camera and sound equipment? The Adults on site OUTNUMBERED the kids!!!

Posted by: The Obvious | August 29, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Reality TV is garbage -- pure and simple. Certainly there are better things to do than watch it. Read a book, work on a hobby, go to a museum, watch a DVD of something better (a BBC production perhaps?) instead.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

momof3boys: The video link in the entry gives you a synopsis of the reality series show in which 40 kids have 40 days to work together to turn a deserted mining town into their own world, without adults. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2007/07/06/VI2007070601285.html)

The controversy stems from child labor laws and whether they were violated in filming the show. Varying reports say the kids worked 14-hour days. The New Mexico attorney general's office has been reviewing complaints that the show may have violated child labor laws. CBS says no laws were broken.

One mother, whose 12-year-old daughter's face was burned while cooking on the show, has filed an "abuse and neglect" complaint.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | August 29, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

>

Ok, Horace. Did you walk 5 miles to school uphill both ways in the snow, too?

Posted by: Dad of Kids from A-Z | August 29, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Reality TV is garbage -- pure and simple. Certainly there are better things to do than watch it. Read a book, work on a hobby, go to a museum, watch a DVD of something better (a BBC production perhaps?) instead."

Ok, Horace. Did you also walk 5 miles through the snow, uphill both ways?

Posted by: Dad of Kids from A-Z | August 29, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I've looked at the preview and read a little. First, I have to question the wisdeom of letting a child go away for 40 days; especially children as young as 8 years old. What safegards were in place to protect the youngest/smallest from any abuses of the older/biggest kids? I think our children today our under a lot of stress already: school, sports, troubled marriages. Why pile more onto their tender psyches?
That being said, I think the idea is an interesting one because it does promote teamwork which is essential for getting along in the world. Maybe if it were tweaked a little, and at this point I'm not sure how, it would not be so troublesome.

Posted by: momof3boys | August 29, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I've never had an interest in "Reality" television shows. Perhaps this reflects that I watch little television as it is.

For the show in question, I think less of "A Brave New World" than another novel, "Ender's Game," and to a certain extent it's parallel novel "Ender's Shadow." I doubt that the show will be any more "real" than the rest of the genre, so we probably will not get glimpses of the answers that those novels and "Lord of the Flies" raises.

These are fairly fundemental questions about the nature of humanity and childhood. Specifically the moral capacity and ingenuity of children. Is morality and order something that adults enforce on children? Or can children arrive at these things without adults? How will the monstrous impulses inside us manifest themselves? These questions make for very gripping fiction for a reason, but the actuality of situations where those questions can be answered in reality is quite frightening.

Posted by: David S | August 29, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The children ranged in ages from 8 to 15; another red flag that came up for me was some of the language in the waiver the parents were required to sign. If their child was injured, killed (?!!), got pregnant (!!) or contracted a STD while on the set, the parents could not hold CBS responsible.

IOW, no, the kids are NOT fully supervised, the camera crews and other adults may be there some of the time but they certainly are not watching them 24/7, and putting teens (presumably male and female) and younger kids in a setting like that is just asking for trouble. CBS should be ashamed for going this far for ratings.

Posted by: John L | August 29, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

when you consider signing a 22 page waiver and it pertains to your child, you should stop, get up, put one foot in front of the other and walk out. Then go home and sit quietly and reflect on where you went wrong in life.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 29, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The complaints about child labor, abuse and neglect seem absurd to me. I actually find that most kids in this country are spoiled and do far too few chores. Yes, 14 hr days (if that is indeed true) seems like a long day of work, but that is under the assumption that the kids were working all those 14 hours, and I am guessing that is just not so. When filming a show there's plenty of downtime in between shootings and scenes, etc., and a lot of what goes on in the show has to do with decision-making and communication skills among the participants instead of actual work.
Also, like someone else said, the show producers, crew, etc are all adults. The adults can easily outnumber the kids, and noone in their right mind will let just anything happen to a child if it is whithin his/her power to stop something real serious from happening.
Maybe I am crazy, but I don't see the show as inherently evil. I think I would have raised the minimum age a bit, though, to 11 or so. I do think 8 is entirely too young, and someone that young is more vulnerable to be bullied in general by older kids. But learning about teamwork and fending for themselves? that's fine by me... there are entirely too many college students who do not know how to sort their own laundry or cook a simple meal already.

Posted by: Tribilin | August 29, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I can see the liability issues and probably would not let my kid do something like this, BUT when I was a kid myself, I totally thought the world would be cooler if kids ran it. From that perspective, it's a really interesting learning experience and a litle bit of a "gotcha" to the kids involved, that might make kids watching appreciate how much easier heir lives are when everything is done for them. I'm thus inclined to watch the show and encourage my 13-year-old to watch as well, hoping it helps push her sense of enitlement into appreciation (hey, I can dream!)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

For the show in question, I think less of "A Brave New World" than another novel, "Ender's Game," and to a certain extent it's parallel novel "Ender's Shadow." I doubt that the show will be any more "real" than the rest of the genre, so we probably will not get glimpses of the answers that those novels and "Lord of the Flies" raises.

I thought those were excellent reading even if a little unnerving sometimes. Allowing children to be in these settings, male & female, younger & older, begs the question: Whose morals are going to trump when (not if) a questionable situation arises? I would not permit my children to participate in something like this unless I had a good idea of the moral character/integrity of those involved.

Posted by: momof3boys | August 29, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Hollywood is betting on conflict, like they do with all reality shows. The nastier people act the more entertainment value. Truly pimping out your child.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 29, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"For the show in question, I think less of "A Brave New World" than another novel, "Ender's Game," and to a certain extent it's parallel novel "Ender's Shadow." I doubt that the show will be any more "real" than the rest of the genre, so we probably will not get glimpses of the answers that those novels and "Lord of the Flies" raises."

I certainly hope not. "Ender's Game", for those who haven't read the book, is set in a future world where children were trained to fight in a war they didn't know they were fighting. Ender is much, much better at it than anyone else, and ends up destroying the other race's home planet just so he can end the game and get some rest. The book is brilliant, but it brings up some very disturbing concepts.

Posted by: John L | August 29, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

By momof3boys @ August 29, 2007 11:16 AM

"I thought those were excellent reading even if a little unnerving sometimes. Allowing children to be in these settings, male & female, younger & older, begs the question: Whose morals are going to trump when (not if) a questionable situation arises? I would not permit my children to participate in something like this unless I had a good idea of the moral character/integrity of those involved."

Do you mean the moral character of the producers and crew at CBS? Or the moral character of the other children? Or both?

By John L @ August 29, 2007 11:41 AM

"I certainly hope not. "Ender's Game", for those who haven't read the book, is set in a future world where children were trained to fight in a war they didn't know they were fighting. Ender is much, much better at it than anyone else, and ends up destroying the other race's home planet just so he can end the game and get some rest. The book is brilliant, but it brings up some very disturbing concepts."

I actually found the conflict and cruelty between the various children in the book more disturbing than the Xenocide that occurs. In part this is because it is cruel on the surface, but also because I cannot help but feel that the truth that it speaks about human nature is true - even people with a moral compass (which Ender definately has) will do terrible things when confronted with no other choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"I actually found the conflict and cruelty between the various children in the book more disturbing than the Xenocide that occurs. In part this is because it is cruel on the surface, but also because I cannot help but feel that the truth that it speaks about human nature is true - even people with a moral compass (which Ender definately has) will do terrible things when confronted with no other choice."

Well, the children's trainers deliberately isolated them from friends and immersed them in a world where competition and conflict were the only things they experienced. When Ender made a friend they were immediately separated, so eventually he quit trying to befriend anyone. He was made the teacher's pet so the other students would dislike him even more; they were even encouraged to physically abuse him when they could.

The whole book was on how someone could be programmed to function a certain way if you could only get to them early enough; a very chilling concept. To Ender's trainers, the ends certainly justified the means.

Posted by: John L | August 29, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"now I understand there's some reality show about murder. It turns my stomach"

You don't know anything about the show (or even if it really exists) and you have an opinion. Just like an uneducated American.

"If their child was injured, killed (?!!), got pregnant (!!) or contracted a STD while on the set,"

40 STD free kids having sex will NOT result in an STD. Only way a kid could have gotten an STD is by having sex with somebody already infected. If your kid already has an STD, this is probably the show for you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I meant the moral character of the children and the parents involved.

I totally agree that even people with a strong moral compass will do reprehensible things when there is no alternative. Children much more so because they don't have the experience to do otherwise.

Posted by: momof3boys | August 29, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

If the kids weren't bullies or abusers, this could work. These people have to go through extensive psych evals, and there is supervision and more than a little bit of direction. To not expect someone to get hurt is naive. I won't be signing my kid up.

I tried to convince my husband to name our boy Andrew so we could call him Ender. But then, other than Ender's Game and Shadow, the series is garbage. OS Card couldn't write a convincing man-woman relationship to save his life. All he can come up with for marriage motivations are pity, convenience, and a desire to get pregnant. Makes me wonder about his marriage.

Posted by: atb2 | August 29, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

There is a CSI reality show with real murders. I haven't seen it. It's very exploitative. But then, people on Cops sign waivers to have the videos of their ridiculous behavior released, so we know how smart people are. Apparently this also applies to next of kin.

Posted by: atb2 | August 29, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The description reminds me of a cable series, "Jeramiah" that ran for a couple of seasons - the premise was a world 15 years after the "big death" when "everyone over the age of innocence" i.e. puberty, was killed by some horrible man-made virus.

My kids would definitely not be on such a show. We've been approached in shopping malls and such by those model-recruiting people, and just walk away from them, too.

Younger son would have loved the idea, and would have driven me and DH nuts with asking, begging, etc. He sometimes keeps at us until he gets a sarcastic: "What part of 'no' was unclear, the letter 'N', or the letter 'O'?"

Funniest thing is he'd probably have been quite successful at evolving a team of the younger kids - he's 10 - to look out for each other and get things done - lots of natural leadership. He's the kind of kid who just seems to thrive in any situation. His autistic older brother, 15, is the follower, not the leader, most of the time.

But just because a kid *can* do something, doesn't mean he should be allowed to do it.

Posted by: Sue | August 29, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

All I have to say, is whatever happened to sending your child to Scout camp for the summer. There they get to be independent, learn about teamwork, and expand thier potential in a properly supervised environment.

I would never send my child away to a place with no adult supervision (and the camera crew doesn't count). What nut thought this one up? And, what nut would actually let thier child go?

Posted by: AnotherMom | August 29, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

What does my extreme distaste for reality TV have to do with where I went to school, Bozo?

Posted by: It's not Horace, schmuck | August 29, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Well from the trailer it just looks incredibly emotionally manipulative to me - like most, if not all reality shows, I guess, but something about it being kids who were manipulated that way - and whose experiences are further manipulated on the editing room floor - gives me the shivers.

Posted by: Shandra | August 29, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Another mom, I'm with you. I'm for sending my kids to camp. I just need to figure out at what age they'll be ready!!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 29, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

To the poster - I'm trying not to use a harsher noun - who wrote that STD free kids could not infect each other: apparently you are blissfully ignorant of the fact that some adults have sex with children. There were plenty of adults on the set. The infamous 22 page waiver explicitly absolved CBS of failing to do proper background checks on the staff involved with the show.

Posted by: kaleberg | August 29, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Listen to all of the nanny state whiners. When all of your babied, spoiled rotten brats grow up, this country is going to be in trouble. Who's to say this experience won't teach kids some responsibility (something they don't get from parents who won't let them do anything)? Have you all really done such a poor job of raising your kids that you couldn't trust them to function as civilized human beings in an environment made up of others their age?

Posted by: Razethem Wright | August 29, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

FYI, BABABOOEY AND HILLARY are the same person who troll ON BALANCE. Their comments should be viewed in that light. They are not real posters.

Posted by: pATRICK | August 29, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"FYI, BABABOOEY AND HILLARY are the same person who troll ON BALANCE. Their comments should be viewed in that light. They are not real posters."


FYI, Coach Calhoun is looking for this Bozo!

Posted by: hillary1 | August 29, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Re:Listen to all of the nanny state whiners. When all of your babied, spoiled rotten brats grow up, this country is going to be in trouble. Who's to say this experience won't teach kids some responsibility (something they don't get from parents who won't let them do anything)? Have you all really done such a poor job of raising your kids that you couldn't trust them to function as civilized human beings in an environment made up of others their age?
Posted by: Razethem Wright | August 29, 2007 02:08 PM

My boys do plenty,within reason,and I certainly trust them to function-in an atmosphere appropriate to their age. Spending 40 days and nights aways from parents with unknown quantities is not normal. This experience will teach them responsibility in an artifical setting that is being manipulated by the adults in charge. I don't know that that could be considered a good thing. Home is where you teach your children how to function and prosper in the world. Or it should be.

Posted by: momof3boys | August 29, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't really get the problem. The parents were ok with it, it doesn't seem as if anything was negligent or likely to set up someone to get damaged physically OR otherwise, and could be interesting.

If enough people don't want it, then it won't last on the air.

Posted by: EmeraldEAD | August 29, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm with "Horace." Reality television is junk. Turn off the t.v. and DO something! Continuing to watch this garbage only encourages producers to come up with new and more irritating or disturbing ideas for reality programming. I just don't get the appeal at all.

Posted by: Sarah | August 29, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be comfortable with my children on this show, but then again, I don't put them in baby photo contests, beauty pageants, send them to auditions for Radio Disney or Nick shows, etc. etc. etc. I think the parents whose children are on this new show are likely classic stage parents who are interested in their children getting a foot in the door in Hollywood.

It seems to me that the show that exploited the troubled kids by showing their time at the wilderness camp in Oregon (Brat Camp? Something like that) was far worse than this one. The parents who let their children be on that one should be the ones who are ashamed.

That being said, I have no problems with this new show. I think it's kind of cool, actually, to show that kids can do a heck of a lot than we normally give them credit for. I wouldn't want my children to do it because of the extreme pressures of television and the entertainment world, but all the power to those who are OK with that.

And to those who are looking down their noses at reality TV - come down off your high horse and lighten up. It's entertainment for some people and it's possible to participate in intellectually stimulating activities AND watch something mindless on television.

Posted by: oldmom | August 29, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't really get the problem. The parents were ok with it, it doesn't seem as if anything was negligent or likely to set up someone to get damaged physically OR otherwise, and could be interesting.

Posted by: EmeraldEAD | August 29, 2007 02:37 PM

The problem is uncontrolled and unsupervised kids, and unknown adults who have made it extremely clear that they will not be responsible.

If the parents are okay with it, that's their call, but I wouldn't make the same call with my kids. There are just too many unknowns.

Would the studio/producers select only bright, mature and responsible kids that are going to cooperate with each other and solve their conflicts by discussion and negotiation? (sounds like a pretty boring show)
Or will they throw in a few "difficult" kids who will make the show interesting?

What about the adults who will be there for six weeks? Who are they, and how will they behave around the kids?

I'm extremely selective about who has control and responsibility for my kids when they aren't at home. I have some blood relatives that wouldn't be permitted to keep my kids overnight, so I'm certainly going to be reluctant to trust television show staffers whom I don't know nearly as well as my relatives.

I see a parent's job as preparing the kid(s) to live independently and successfully in the world. That doesn't mean putting a kid into situations unsupported before s/he is ready to handle it alone. It does mean giving them opportunities to grow and learn independently.

I got a pretty good load of grief on this blog about two months ago, for sending my 15-y-o autistic son alone to visit SIL's family on the other coast. Some people saw the word 'autistic' and assumed, incorrectly, that the kid couldn't possibly be ready for such an adventure. He was fine, and gained a *lot* of self-confidence. He might even be ready to ride Oakland city buses alone soon!

If the parents of the kids on the show were comfortable with the lack of adult supervision, and with their child's ability to handle anything unexpected that might come up - well, I don't know their kids, so I can't really say they're wrong. But I look at all the kids I've ever known between the ages of 8 and 15, and I'd be hard-pressed to name any that I think would be ready for *anything* that might happen in a six-week period, although some of them would certainly be alright for a few days.

Posted by: Sue | August 29, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't sound terribly different from school or camp. I'm sure adults stepped in if there was ever any real danger.

Posted by: T Mander | August 29, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Really - I used to go to camp for 6 weeks - it was actually 41 days and 40 nights. We had about 200 kids there and about 35 staff, but a significant portion of the staff were under 21. Bad things rarely happened, and, when they did, they were almost always accidents. I started going when I was 7 (for 3 weeks) and went for 6 weeks from 8 to 15. Then I worked there another several summers.

Posted by: TMander | August 29, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised CBS covered their legal bases so thoroughly. But don't think that means they are not offering some kind of supervision to prevent the worst things happening. Legal liability or no, they could ill afford the extremely bad PR they would get if something really went wrong, and I am certain there were safeguards inplace to prevent it.

Posted by: Mom-of-1 | August 29, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

and I am certain there were safeguards inplace to prevent it.

This is what you hear when they interview people AFTER things go wrong. "I thought for sure they had some safeguards in place, how could this have happened?" That is why they make you sign a 22 page waiver

Posted by: pATRICK | August 29, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Nah - I don't believe it, pATRICK. I mean, you make an interesting point, but we're talking about a network with a whole bunch of lawyers and KIDS. Again - they don't want to shell out $50 million in a lawsuit if someone gets pregnant or something (can't watch everybody all the time - especially when they are intent on sneaking off) so of course they have a waiver. But they know how bad it would be for them if someone were to be the victim of any kind of violence during the taping of this show. And lax child labor laws or not (I understand this was mostly about the hours), there are strict rules about the SAFETY of kids on sets that I'm certain have to be followed.

Posted by: Mom-of-1 | August 29, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with pATRICK on this one.
Sure, the laws are there, and the possibility of bad PR is there. That's what these companies have lawyers, insurance and PR departments for - to make the lawsuits go away, and to keep anything ugly from ever coming out.

It comes down to trust. Do the parents trust the good-will and intentions of the people who are making a television program with their children? Obviously, a whole bunch of parents were willing to extend that trust, or the show wouldn't have been made. pATRICK and I are much less trusting of people we don't know.

I can't explain the reasons for pATRICK, but this will give some background of why I can't be so trusting.

I spent a summer working in a youth program in a national park before my senior year of high school. My dad was running another camp in the national forest outside the park. The kids in this national program were all 15-18 years old, and there were strict ratios of staff-to-kids.

The contrast between the two camps was pretty harsh. Where I was, we weren't well supervised, and a lot of food "disappeared" from the camp kitchens. The "solution" was that nobody got fed for a couple of week ends - this was supposed to pressure the kid (or kids) who'd taken the food to return it. Didn't work. We had kids screwing around - I was one of them, although I did technically keep my virginity. We had one of the adult staff in a relationship with a 15-y-o. We had kids leaving the camp, and sleeping out in the middle of nowhere without anyone having a clue where they'd gone. We had a knifing. We had personal property stolen, and other property damaged. In short, if it hadn't been back in the mid-70s, there would have been lawsuits.

This is why I wouldn't put my kids in an unsupervised tv-show, or a "summer camp" as some of the descriptions put it. I've seen first hand some of the things that might go wrong. And remember, my experience was in a situation with older kids than this show, and my situation *should* have had good supervision. The camp my dad ran, did.

Posted by: Sue | August 29, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Sue, great post. I think trust is earned over a period of time. It is not given instantly based on promises by unknown people and a hope that it will work out. BTW Your camp sounds like a straight to dvd movie. :)

Posted by: pATRICK | August 29, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

"Listen to all of the nanny state whiners. When all of your babied, spoiled rotten brats grow up, this country is going to be in trouble. Who's to say this experience won't teach kids some responsibility (something they don't get from parents who won't let them do anything)? Have you all really done such a poor job of raising your kids that you couldn't trust them to function as civilized human beings in an environment made up of others their age?"

For this and people who are commenting on this being like summer camp - I think you are missing an incredibly important distinction here.

This show was not created, despite the PR, to give the kids a great experience. Giving kids a great experience is not dramatic and often it is not interesting.

This show was created to make money by providing entertainment, and entertainment needs drama and conflict. Reality shows are cast to increase tension and conflict, not to decrease it - and if anyone thinks that this show would have been exempt, I suggest they think again.

Posted by: Shandra | August 30, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Have you all really done such a poor job of raising your kids that you couldn't trust them to function as civilized human beings in an environment made up of others their age?"

I just noticed this and have no idea who originally posted it.

Yeah, I do trust my kids. But I think this is the wrong question. It's all the *other* kids (and the adults) that I don't know - and consequently don't trust.

Posted by: Sue | August 30, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to believe that I am raising children in the same reality as some of the other posters. My children (5 y.o. boy, 9 y.o. girl) are smart, responsible, good kids with a well-developed sense of right and wrong. That said, I would NEVER even CONSIDER putting my 9 year old daughter in a setting that was not supervised by adults overnight, let alone for 40 days and nights. Let alone around teenaged boys!

When the cameras are off, who is supervising? Physical and sexual abuse between children sometimes takes place in homes where loving, attentive parents are present. Do any of you really believe that this situation did not result in some children being bullied and abused by the others? And who really thinks that these unsupervised 12, 13, 14 and 15 year olds were not engaging in sexual activity?

If this really seems like a good idea to some grownups, I have to say, its the adults I'm worried about as much as the kids.

Posted by: Lisa Marie | September 4, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

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