Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Babies Aren't TV Props

Babies shouldn't be used as props on any kind of television show. Babies are human beings, not objects to be used for a television network's profit. If the purpose of the NBC series "The Baby Borrowers," was to give young teen couples an idea of what dealing with a baby would be like, the network didn't need to use real babies.

Professional educators have been teaching teens about being a parent without using real babies. North Carolina Cooperative Extension centers in Cumberland, Richmond and Scotland counties won an award for its “Baby, Think It Over” program in which over 500 high school students experienced parenting using dolls programmed to function like a baby on a normal 24 hour schedule.

The Mexican state of Chihuahua as well as various areas in the U.S. and Britain have used more advanced dolls made by RealCare for similar programs.

Hollywood has some very capable technical people who could have worked with RealCare to make the dolls even more effective. However, that wouldn't have had the entertainment value of showing real babies and might have cost more. NBC obviously didn't produce this program to help teenagers. It produced the program to make money.

If NBC wants a program to educate teen viewers about the realities of taking care of babies, it can do so using professional actors with child psychologists helping to write the scripts and show the actors how to deal with different situations. Programs could have the characters make mistakes and show the consequences of those mistakes.

NBC could accomplish a similar goal in a reality show context by using real young couples who are first time parents. Child psychologists could monitor their activities and help them correct mistakes. These psychologists could explain to viewers what the couples were doing right or wrong.

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