There have been many, many commentators quick to criticize the new CBS “reality show” Kid Nation; while much of their criticism is unfounded even more borders on the ridiculous.
General criticism’s have been based on CBS’s promo: “Forty kids with no parents, no teachers . . . anywhere.” This has led to charges ranging from “irresponsible” to “child abuse” to “slavery” and those charges were (and are) based on nothing more than the mental picture of 40 kids running around unsupervised ala “Lord of the Flies.”
What nonsense! How does anyone in their right mind imagine that a major television network would EVER allow that? Of course they wouldn’t and didn’t! There were no parents or teachers, that’s true but there were medical professionals constantly on the scene and a production crew that was continually on the watch for any situation that would lead to allegations of abuse or a lawsuit after the production wrapped.
The kids, you can be sure, had a great time because they actually were in charge of many aspects of their lives while the show was being filmed — you can be sure that they didn’t have absolute freedom but they had the freedom to make and implement many decisions involving their daily life. The only kids that wouldn’t enjoy that are the kids that have strict and neurotic parents who don’t allow their children to have more than limited freedom and who don’t feel that kids are capable of making decisions — those are the kids that weren’t at Kid Nation anyway.
The most hysterical charge I’ve heard against CBS was on yesterday’s Michael Medved radio show. He painted a picture of the living conditions, asking his listeners how they would like having their 8-year old sleeping in the same room with older kids that weren’t related or even close friends. He continued into a station break with the accusation that CBS’s motive was “sexual titillation.” Wow! If those sleeping conditions, conditions very similar to every summer camp, caused Mr. Medved to be sexually titillated, me thinks that Mr. Medved has a very disturbing problem. Perhaps he was molested at a summer camp as a child? Well those things do happen but they are very less likely to happen in a place run by a mult-million-dollar corporation that is very aware of the legal and public-relations consequences of something like that.
The kids on Kid Nation were safer than they would be at any summer camp and as safe as they would have been if 40 sets of parents were standing on the side-lines making it all but impossible to produce the series.
If I didn’t work nights or if I had a TIVO type device to record Kid Nation I’d watch it for sure! It’s not gong to be great television and I don’t think the ratings will be sky-high but it’s worth a look just because it’s unique. I’m sure I’ll catch highlights on the news or entire segments on YouTube.
How about you? Are you going to give Kid Nation a look-see?
International Herald Tribune: CBS backs ‘Kid Nation’ despite outcry
Chicago Tribune: What were ‘Kid Nation’ parents thinking?
From the Blogs
Mixed Media: Let’s Give Kid Nation a Chance
Ed Martin’s Watercoller TV: Advertisers are the First to See Kid Nation!