Not long ago, children were raised on a diet of Sesame Street, Disney and Scooby Doo, with the occasional sitcom and wildlife programme. Parents were
secure in the knowledge
that their youngsters were exposed to nothing unsuitable, and
learn something too.
Today, the situation has radically changed. Reality TV (RTV) has replaced the old sitcom at the top of the TV ratings (Nielsen, 2011), appealing to broadcasting networks with its popular and cheap-to-produce content. Digital access to hundreds of channels on demand makes these shows more accessible, whilst presenting new challenges for parents.
This report maintains that the amount of RTV children are watching is a serious concern, particularly in light of the growing number of online multimedia viewing options.
It begins by examining recent statistics relating to children’s RTV viewing, then moves to consider two particular areas of concern. Finally, it considers ways broadcasting networks, governments and parents might best address these issues.