Acting on viewers’ complaints regarding sexualisation of children on television, Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has issued guidelines to all channels to refrain from featuring children below the age of 12 years in scenes/acts that have sexual or adult overtones. The advisory also directs channels to look after the health and safety of child artists. And parents of prominent child artists support the BCCC’s diktat.
“As a mother, I agree with the BCCC. Parents of child actors must tell producers if they feel the content is not suitable for the child’s age,” says Mrinmoyee Mukherjee, mother of child actor Amrita, who plays Pihu in Bade Achhe Lagte Hain, and agrees that the shoots were hectic for the little girl initially. “However, now she works for 15-18 days a month and we always leave before 8.30 pm,” she adds. This will be Amrita’s last TV serial as a child actor, her mom says.
“I think these guidelines are very important. A child should be treated as per his/her age. As parents, we ensure that his mental and physical growth is not affected and he isn’t burdened,” says Vindu Kotia, mother of Shivansh, who plays Naksh in Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai.
Children performing inappropriate dance steps in reality shows is also a concern now. “I agree children should not perform sexy item songs. His choreographer takes care of this,” says M Jagdishwarrao, father of India’s Got Talent winner Sumanth. The dancer missed school for six months while participating in the talent show.
Dr Aruna Broota, Clinical Psychologist suggests, “Parents must ensure a balance between studies, work and playtime.” TV Channels that air shows featuring child artists did not want to comment.
(With inputs from Aditi Caroli, Vaishali Bhambri, Navdeep Kaur Marwah)