CBS is currently running Kid Nation, a reality show with 40 children (ages 8-15) by themselves in an old ghost town in the Old West. Think Survivor except the kids don’t get voted off. They can leave if they like, but only by their own choice. The only adults are the film crew, who don’t interfere.
The kids go through various challenges, mental, physical, emotional, etc. The show’s producers rachet up the drama with various competitions, rewards, etc. I’ve watched all the episodes so far and it is very entertaining. All episodes are available for free at Kid Nation, and also on YouTube. But is it moral?
Is there a moral problem with giving kids emotional pain to let us watch for entertainment. These kids manipulate and control each other . . . at times there is abusive language and the beginings of physical fights (but none have really materialized on screen yet). For example, the town’s chickens become pets for the younger kids, a source of friendship and emotional security. Then, the older kids decide to eat the chickens and so they chop off their heads with everyone standing around. Some kids crying. Is that a valid source of entertainment? This is not just something that happened, it was staged for our entertainment.
What do you think? Does this show cross some sort of moral boundary?