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For Immediate Release:
July 31, 2008
NAEYC Statement on Young Children’s Involvement in Reality Television
NBC’S ‘Baby Borrowers’ at the Center of National Concern
(WASHINGTON, D.C.)–“Recently, General Electric-owned NBC launched a new national reality television series called “Baby Borrowers”, a show based on the premise that teens would gain meaningful lessons by experiencing the challenges of family life—as temporary ‘parents’ to babies and preschoolers, teens and as temporary ‘children’ dealing with aging parents.
“The lessons may be instructive, but at what cost? NAEYC is especially concerned about leaving babies in the care of ill-equipped teens. Babies rely on parents and other caregivers who know them and who understand how to meet their needs. Why would anyone want to expose babies to the anxiety, worry and fear that results when they are left with strangers who don’t know them and who don’t have the advantage of knowledge of child development and early education?
“NAEYC is concerned that ‘Baby Borrowers’ is part of a growing trend in reality television that exploits children. Childhood, especially infancy, is a time to nurture each child’s curiosity and provide them with supportive learning experiences. Reality television should never place children in situations that cause anxiety and fear. Additionally, children’s behavior and judgments should not be used to exploit them, especially to create greater entertainment value.
“Despite being popular with some audiences nationwide and perhaps good for ratings for NBC, “Baby Borrowers” is bad for young children and bad for the teens that could learn valuable lessons under other conditions that do not exploit them or the babies they are ‘parenting’. And that’s where our primary concern should lie. Family life is challenging, especially when parenting young children. Early care and education, both inside and outside the home, is utilized by millions of families at all income levels. NBC would be better served to invest its considerable resources on educating the general public, and parents specifically, on how to recognize high-quality care and education inside and outside the home and to create the types of supports that all families need, rather than exploiting children for entertainment purposes.”
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has nearly 90,000 members worldwide. The association is the largest and most influential advocate for early care and education in the United States.
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Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest and most influential advocate for high-quality early care and education in the United States.