Reality Shows

An attempt to imitate participants in a reality show, MTV’s “Roadies”, ended in a tragedy recently, the death of a nine year old boy.

He “had watched the episode where two female contestants, Palak and Polomi, were made to stand on a wooden stool with their hands tied. A rope was also placed around their neck. Another semi-finalist, Noman, was then given three minutes to save one of them“.

He had watched the episode with his friends and then tried to imitate the stunt. His uncle later found him hanging from the ceiling fan.

Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, lifestyle management expert says that children always want to copy whatever seems cool. ” It is for parents to make it clear that what’s cool may not be safe.

Students who have watched episodes of MTV Roadies say, that a warning not to try the stunts at home, is not displayed prominently enough.

The I&B minister of state Anand Sharma said, “It is a moral and legal responsibility on part of the television producers to show a warning that that these stunts should not be tried at home.

He said “If there’s a dangerous stunt, they must adhere to the rule. We are concerned over reports that some people are not doing it.”

Reality shows are very popular these days. Is anyone really concerned that tragedies like this may happen?

And who is to blame if something tragic does happen?

The producers of the show? For not displaying the warnings more prominently?

The I & B Ministry? For not ensuring that the shows adhere to the rules?

The parents? For not making sure that children understand that they should not try these stunts themselves?

Or television viewers in general? Because if there were no viewers for these shows, they would not be produced.

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20 thoughts on “Reality Shows”

  1. You can keep saying that these stunts should not be tried at home. Unless they are so difficult that they cannot be done by anyone at home or elsewhere, there will always be someone who will be tempted to try them out. Therefore, any stunts in which there is any risk to life, as in this case there clearly was, should simply not be aired. These guys running reality shows sometimes lose their minds completely. And this MTV program is, in particular, one reality show which is the product of the minds of idiots.

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  2. Kislay- I have to agree. I can’t understand why they are so popular, though!Sraboney- I think so, too. All are to blame to some extent. I think the viewers could put a stop to these shows by simply not watching them. But the fact is that people want these reality shows.Vinodji- I agree.And since the producers do not seem to have common sense, why does the Information and Broadasting Ministry stop at making the producers display warnings before the show?They should issue rules regarding what can be aired, too.

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  3. I have no problem if adults participate in these reality shows but I hate the fact that little kids are tortured, their parents fight with the judges in front of them. Judges use bad language, put down other people and all this at the expense of kids schooling. In US a lot of child stars actually sue their parents when they grow up because in most cases the trust fund is emptied by the time the kid turns 18. So no schooling and no money and the child stars become druggies with exceptions like Olsen twins.I & B once mentioned that there was going to be some strict regulation against these shows. No idea what happened to that.

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  4. Actually, “reality” in the world is so different. And nothing about that is shown…These shows highlight conflicts, violence, power ,and basic disregard for decent human behaviour. They show people being humiliated in a demeaning manner at times, sometimes violently. And so, those who watch, learn these things. Witness the large amount of newsitems in the newspapers these days, about suicides for facetious reasons, attacking girls, using bad language etc. We basically have NO control over what we show on TV. Dont know what the I and B ministry does.

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  5. The reality show is after all a show ! The blame can be apportioned across the board !The essence is to note that everybody has a slice of the falling knife. The show, the organisers, the parents, the teachers..everybody !

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  6. Solilo- In this case the participants were adults, but a child imitated them and lost his life. Maybe these shows should be moved to a late night timing so children will not watch…ugich konitari- I agree, these shows do have “basic disregard for decent human behaviour.” And they certainly have a lot of influence over those who watch them!Kavi- Yes, I think so, too. Everyone is to blame to some degree.

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  7. Often a warning not to try the stunt is actual enticement to a 9 year old, so the lack of warning isn’t a problem, I do not believe. I am not blaming the parents, and I am sure they are suffering untold grief. I do know what I watched at 9 was limited and closely monitored by my parents and that was probably best for me.~Mary

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  8. Mary- Welcome to the blog!I think nowadays it is more difficult for parents to monitor what children watch. Peer pressure- even in the case of young children- seems to be stronger than the parents’ influence.

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  9. very valid questions Manju… we didnt learned it till now.. the kids always try to imitate what is shown on the screen… even when the serial Shaktimaan was telecast some children jumped from buildings hoping that Shaktimaan will save them… parents have a huge responsibility in this.. by saying what’s real and what not ti their child A very nice post Manju 🙂

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  10. Manju, That was so shocking!!! I think the blame needs to be shared by all the above mentioned.. I do think that irrespective of what is shown on television, parents should ensure that the child does not watch anything that is not suitable for them.. For instance, I am paranoid about not letting my daughter watch movies or programmes which are not suitable for her.. Also, as you have mentioned, that the programme should be moved to a time when the children might not watch it.. I&B should come out with strict norms and ensure that they are followed and parents need to do their bit as well.. Reality shows on the whole leave a bad taste in the mouth 😦

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  11. they had similar instances earlier as well.. with shaktiman..i think its collective responsibility… TV channels shud mandaotrily mention how dangerous the stunts being shown are… but just a few sentences or a couple of lines of subtext arent good enuf.. parents must explain to their kids why they shudnt be imitating what they see on tv.

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  12. This is so sad.I watched that episode and clearly even watching that on TV for me felt a bit uneasy.I dont think warnings would have made a difference to a young kid like this. Most kids fed on a diet of superheroes believe they can do almost anything that they watch on TV.

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  13. Smitha- I agree that parents need to keep an eye on what programmes their children are watching on television. This will obviously be difficult for working parents, though :(Mandira- I think that by just showing a warning at the beginning of a programme, the producers are shirking their responsibility. As you say, ‘a couple of lines of subtext arent good enuf’!freespirit- Welcome to the blog!L.V.S.- Yes, I agree that the boy was so young- warnings would not have made a difference.

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  14. if the disclaimer is issued before the running of the show and children below 18 perform the stunts and they get hurt – parents are responsible. ( because parents are responsible for children)If adults above 18 perform than they themselves are responsible because they are adults.And if the disclaimer is not issued before the show and somebody gets hurt, you can take the production company to court — according to consumer affairs one has to declare safety regulations !

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  15. This is so tragic Manju :(And I agree with Vinod Sir and Kislay…such shows are the products of the minds of idiots!and they should be banned …I mean how much more stupid and dangerous can they get?like Mandira says a few lines of subtext isnt good enough…thats just shirking responsibility

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  16. Anrosh- What you say is legally correct, I suppose. But as a society, don’t we have a responsibility to act beyond ‘legally correct’?Indyeah- If only they could be banned!

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