How far will television networks go just to gain a profit? It appears as though every popular reality show is creating a spin off featuring children; adult shows now have little value unless there is a junior version to partner it.
One such show is “Masterchef Junior,” which features children ages eight to thirteen, all who possess extreme talent in the culinary arts. These children compete in individual challenges that test their technique, team competitions, and pressure tests. While pouring syrup on well respected chef Gordon Ramsay may appear as though the show is light hearted, there is a much darker side to this cooking competition.
We’ve all seen the Vine of poor Sam from “Masterchef Junior” exploding with stress due to his burnt potatoes. In fact, this child’s pain has become a popular meme among social media users. What does it say about the psyche of an American, if a source of entertainment is watching young children near tears over something as trivial as potatoes?
While children on junior shows posses talent, it is highly unlikely that a child of eight years old could produce a perfect duck a l’orange by themselves. These shows seem scripted to a certain degree, and inflate the abilities of the contestants. It is reasonable for a child to require assistance in these high pressure situations, but networks should be upfront instead of fostering the illusion.
Some children on these shows possess no drive for competition, leading one to conclude that their parents have forced them to participate. These shows provide yet another avenue for crazed parents to live vicariously through their more talented children.
These shows force children to mature quickly in order to keep up with the demands of the competition. They are thrown into adult situations far before they are ready, which leads them to crumble under the pressure. A multitude of Disney child stars exemplify the aftermath of fame and success at a young age: destroyed humans who struggle to acclimate themselves to the real world.
Despite the ugly aspects of children’s reality shows, they are not a negative creation over all. These competitions give children a great opportunity to showcase their talents, and build their careers from a young age. Junior shows prove that age does not determine talent or hinder one’s capability for virtuosity.
However, television networks need to take into account the aftermath of junior shows, besides just making a quick buck. While these programs can have positive effects on a growing child’s self esteem and identity, in most cases it’s better to let kids be kids, and leave such strenuous and mentally draining situations to adults.