Kiddie shows’ fun and games may not be all that ‘harmless’
As TV shows with a strong “child factor” sustain their popularity with delighted viewers, more issues and considerations emerge that should be recognized and attended to before they get worse.
On the recent kiddie impersonation tilt, “Your Face Sounds Familiar,” quite a lot of the show’s success could be attributed, not to the juvenile contestants’ innate talents,
but more to the “packaging” and production support that they were given.
Part of the problem was the fact that the singing stars picked for impersonation were way too old for the kids to know anything about them.
So, in many cases, they relied mostly on the tutoring and mentoring provided by the show’s singing, dancing and “total performance” trainers.
In addition, top-to-top costuming, head prosthetics, character makeup, hairstyling and props created the rest of the illusion, so the kids didn’t contribute much of their own input in terms of real creativity.
Solutions: Choose singing stars the kids can relate to more, and avoid total head prosthetics, because they get in the way of expression in performance.
A bigger problem is some TV shows’ penchant for pairing juvenile contestants and performers up into “precociously romantic” tandems.
Even kids younger than tweens are teased about having a “crush” on each other, years before they should be thinking of love and such.
It’s all supposed to be innocent fun and games, but child psychologists may more soberly think otherwise, having seen the less “harmless” consequences of introducing kids to less childlike and childish considerations that they are still too immature to handle.
People who love teasing kids about “crushes” and precocious love accuse naysayers of having “dirty minds,” but the issue is more complicated than that, so greater care and caution should be exercised.
It’s hard enough being a kid these days without unnecessarily complicating the situation with pressures, intimations and insinuations that they’re too young, unformed and uninformed to comfortably contend with.
A third issue related to child performers is the “family breadwinner” consideration that is a pervasive reality on the local performing scene.
Some juvenile talents come from really poor families who, despite the kids’ youth, rely on them to earn enough money to pull their entire family group out of dire poverty.
This is very generous, selfless and inspiring of the kids, but it’s also a huge “responsibility” that shouldn’t weigh them down.
Yes, they do it voluntarily at the start, but some relatives end up taking advantage of their generosity and regard them as a free meal ticket and permission to be lazy and dependent.
Worse, some child talents end up resenting their opportunistic kin when they’re older and wiser, sometimes resulting in a big, resentful and stinking mess.
What to do? Even as the performing kid is earning, his relatives shouldn’t stop working—and 50 percent of the kid’s income should go into a trust fund that they can’t touch—which the young talent can access and make good use of, when he comes of age.
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