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Activists Want Tougher Rules For Reality TV Kids

November 17, 2009

From “Balloon Boy” Falcon Heene to Jon and Kate’s eight, children in reality TV shows are often a ratings bonanza — but off camera, child advocates and others are trying to rewrite the script for reality TV amid concerns that youngsters are being exploited.

Mental health experts, child advocates, at least one actors union and others are pushing for a federal law that would standardize work and pay and ensure that increasing numbers of young reality stars are protected.

Child actor turned advocate Paul Petersen said children in reality shows are filmed longer than what’s permissible for scripted shows, where cameras aren’t always rolling. A Minor Consideration, the advocacy group he founded for young performers, wants to extend the legal protections available for kids in scripted shows to their reality TV counterparts. Read More