Are Reality TV Shows Breaking Laws by Including Children in Sometimes Psychologically Damaging Situations?

Jun 28, 2010  •  Post A Comment

A troubling trend is arising in reality television shows with children being included in filming of scenes that are potentially psychologically harmful, report Matea Gold and Richard Verrier in the Los Angeles Times.

One recent example comes from the first season finale of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," when Teresa Giudice called co-star Danielle Staub a "prostitution whore" and then pulled a table into the air with dishes crashing — all in front of Staub’s upset daughters, who were then 11 and 15, the article says.

Although New Jersey’s laws prohibit minors from inclusion in shows that might be damaging to "life, limb, health or morals," the state wasn’t able to determine whether "Housewives" fell under its child labor laws, the piece says. And "Housewives" isn’t a exception: 11 reality shows taping across eight states didn’t have paperwork for hiring children. Still, they may be legally in the right, as producers say these children are participants and not employees, the article says.


  1. re “these children are participants not employees” uh huh, like the children that were used by Richard Heene to get a reality show? Or the Sullivan girl sailing around the world? One question I would have is WILLING participants? Another would be where is the moral conviction when the parents don’t seem to have it? Could the producers show some backbone? hmmmm.

  2. While it is good some are concerned about the welfare of children on reality shows, if they really want to care more for the welfare of children in the world, they would do better to concern themselves not so much with kids on TV with adult supervision, but with children being raped, drugged, kidnapped, and forcibly prostituted for actual sex across the world including in yes, America and abroad by sex traffickers.

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