Thursday, August 16, 2007

Kid Nation: Work by Kids, Laws by Adults

On September 19, CBS will begin airing its new reality show, the controversial Kid Nation. The show will have, as contestants, 40 kids aged 8 to 15, who are supposed to "run" an abandoned town in New Mexico.

During each show, kids will be divided into groups and will perform physical challenges. Winning or losing these challenges determine whether a group becomes cooks, cleaners, or the coveted upper class, which I assume don't do any work at all. They will run the town store, the saloon, and what other establishments the producers have set up for the young pioneers.

Unlike other reality shows, no one gets voted off in Kid Nation. A contestant can decide to go home during any of the regular "town hall meetings" led by a town council of four kids. It is also during the gathering where the kids debate on issues of governance. Then, the council decides which of the contestants should get a gold star--a two-pound star made of real gold worth S20,000.

The concept is interesting, but the issue of child abuse has been raised. Then again, anti-child abuse laws are strictly enforced in the US, and I'd like to think the first season proceedings have been monitored. I certainly don't believe the promo video which claims that there'd be "no adults" helping the contestants in some way, albeit minute. And there may be no parents or teachers, but there is the camera crew, and I hope some kind of child counselor, and security personnel. The producers would have ensured the contestants' parents that the young'uns would be safe, if not emotionally rattled from time to time.

I personally think that the set up will lend a good deal to the emotional development of the children involved. I read somewhere that child psychologists favor kids settling squabbles on their own, as opposed to letting their folks fix things up. The kids will learn teamwork, as well as how to deal with other age levels. If I were a kid, I'd want to join this. It's like playing house, but better. (I might find myself crying after the first day, though.)

Some folks have commented that ingraining the concept of social status via the label "upper class" isn't healthy for the young mind, that being a cook and a cleaner equates to being a loser. I hope there's a rule in the show that prevents upper class winners from earning gold stars, since they won't be working per se. It's a nice trade-off. With that rule in place, the kids can determine if status is really important to them, or the rewards that can only be reaped through hard work.

You can watch the preview on You Tube.

2 comments:

Budjette said...

Looks like an interesting show.

How fast can you say: PINOY KID NATION? hehehe

Let's see what happens when we make the kids run the Senate. :)

Carver said...

Mas maganda kung Kongreso. Pero baka hindi rin. Puedeng magsapakan ang mga kongresista, eh.

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