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The Benefits of Reality TV on Kids

 

Television, long seen as a negative influence on children has managed to turn the tide thanks to the recent spate of reality programming:

What do reality television shows The Block, MasterChef and Australia’s Got Talent have in common?

Your child.

According to a TV Tonight report, in 2011, those three shows were the most popular with children under 15.

It seems that feel-good family oriented sitcoms, popular with tweens and teens of the past generation have given way to talent quest shows and experts say that this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Competency based programs showcase hard work and discipline, while graphically depicting the euphoria of success and and the bitter disappointment of failure. In contrast, popular family sitcoms of the 80s and 90s like The Cosby Show or Full House featured safe, insular worlds, in which a happy ending was assured.

Laura Kiln, internationally recognised parenting expert and owner of Laura’s Place, a practice where she offers counselling to families, cautiously endorses reality TV saying some shows expose children to a wide spectrum of issues and offer useful advice without sugar-coating difficult matters.

Kiln notes that a show like The Biggest Loser can help children develop empathy by observing the severe impact of weight problems on contestants’ lives, especially in cases where the children’s own families have no experience of obesity.

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