Social Experimentation

KidnationgrillThe controversy over CBS’ fall reality skein “Kid Nation” controversy continues to percolate.

The latest story skedded to run in the New York Times’ Thursday edition seems an even-handed look at the situation which seems to boil down to the issue of what did the parents know and when did they know it?

As the Times reports:

The parent of at least one participant has complained to New Mexico authorities that the conditions were abusive and that several children were harmed during the production.

The 22-page agreement leaves little room for parents to argue that they did not know what their children might encounter. As is standard in such agreements, the parents and the children agreed not to hold the producers and CBS responsible if their children died or were injured, if they received inadequate medical care, or if their housing was unsafe and caused injury.

The overriding issue with “Kid Nation” is obviously the question of what would motivate any parent would be willing to let their kid take part in a show built around the premise of kids being without (much) adult supervision to fend for themselves for 40 days in a New Mexico ghost town. Fame? Money? The $20,000 prize at stake at the end of each episode isn’t much by reality TV standards. According to the Times’ story there was also a $5,000 stipend paid to each family.

Hard as it is, I’m trying to reserve judgment until seeing the show, which bows Sept. 19. CBS has so far only provided a glimpse in this promo clip posted here last week.

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  1. chris rehnke says:

    with the state of the parents role in childs lives nowadays this concept of kids fending for themselves isn’t that far fetched. all you should reserve your judgments until the show airs. i think it is a very interesting idea for a show and i hope it is as good as it advertises. it is wrong to jump the gun on boycotting a show someone has no idea about. i wish we can all boycott hasselhof for the abuse he puts us all through looking at him. in fact we have no idea what kind of abuse or any took place. kids are clumsy anyway they always get hurt. whats new. i think its a great social experiment. thank god its replacing others horrible shows.
    LIVE ON “KIDS NATION”

  2. chris rehnke says:

    with the state of the parents role in childs lives nowadays this concept of kids fending for themselves isn’t that far fetched. all you should reserve your judgments until the show airs. i think it is a very interesting idea for a show and i hope it is as good as it advertises. it is wrong to jump the gun on boycotting a show someone has no idea about. i wish we can all boycott hasselhof for the abuse he puts us all through looking at him. in fact we have no idea what kind of abuse or any took place. kids are clumsy anyway they always get hurt. whats new. i think its a great social experiment. thank god its replacing others horrible shows.
    LIVE ON “KIDS NATION”

  3. Myles says:

    While any sort of actual abuse done would certainly be difficult for the series to overcome, I would argue that as far as reality TV goes its concept appears to be as non-exploitative as possible. There’s no eliminations, there’s prizes awarded for leadership and teamwork, and it seems as if the intention was to teach lessons as opposed to throw kids together and allow all hell to break loose.
    I would tend to agree with you, Cynthia, in waiting until seeing the show itself. It just seems too early to judge based on what has been a flurry of media reports, and the series having the unfortunate position of directly replacing Jericho in the eyes of some fans.

  4. Ralph says:

    Absolutely dispicable what CBS did here. Anybody who watches this should have their head examined. It sounds like total child abuse to me. I would urge everyone to not watch.

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