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‘Kiddie talent hunts are risky’

As Nick India launches a show with no auditions or competition, psychiatrists debate its merits.

tv Updated: Sep 08, 2010 12:54 IST
Serena Menon

In an attempt to battle the increasing amount of competition seen in reality TV shows for children, channel Nick India has devised a new format.

This Superstar Contest will allow four children to be part of a televised advertisement, but will have no auditions, tests or competition to select them.

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, senior vice president and general manager, Nick India feels that children should be allowed to have fun, without having to suffer the stress of competition.

Some child psychiatrists feel that extreme exposure to competition, winning and losing can hamper the child’s confidence level at a very young age.

No stress
“Kids must have fun in whatever they do. Parents feel a great sense of pride seeing their kids on TV, therefore in our own unique way, minus the stress of auditions, we are giving millions of kids the opportunity to fulfill their dream of being on TV,” says Jaipuria.

While some child care specialists feel that it’s the erratic nature of television that can harm the child, some believe that these competitions can help them face life’s difficulties earlier.

Sujay Prabhugaonkar, child psychiatrist, says, “Competitiveness has definitely increased, but it only helps these children establish themselves at young ages. And that is not always a bad thing. It is better to learn to lose at a young age. If the child wants to participate, he should. He’ll grow to be a stronger person.”

Formats like talent hunts where children lose to competitors based on audiences’ votes and feel humiliated in public may sometimes harm their confidence levels.

Anshu Kulkarni, psychiatrist says, “TV tends to create emotionally charged content, not realising that the children don’t know the difference between real emotions and melodrama. Some who are belittled on screen can’t handle it.”

He goes on to add, “Unless the child knows what he is going to face, it is risky. But then again, reality TV works because of its surprises.”