NBC is abusing small children by using them for a "social experiment" and profit on a show airing on Wednesday's at 9 EDT/ 8 CDT beginning June 25 called "The Baby Borrowers" . On the program teenagers pretend to be the parents of babies by substituting for the babies' real parents.
Dr. Jan Hunt director of the Natural Child Project says: "As a parent, child psychologist and family counselor, I am deeply concerned about the premise of your new show "The Baby Borrowers," and for the present and future emotional health of the babies and young children whose lives will be so strongly affected."
Scientists have only limited knowledge of how the brain develops in young children. Babies cannot say how they feel. The information the baby receives and its feelings about the information influences how the neurons in the brain develop. Scientists know that events in a baby's life can positively or negatively affect brain development.
According to the news story about the show on the network's Wichita, Ks., affiliate KSNW, the people appearing on the show are volunteers who are not compensated. How does a baby volunteer to be on a television show? Using children as performers on a commercial television show without payment should be illegal if it isn't already. If adults are stupid enough to appear on a commercial television show without compensation they should be allowed to do so. But children should not be exploited for profit by heartless television networks. How can the network know the reasons why these parents allowed NBC to exploit their babies
Small children should not be used for experiments with the only possible exception being controlled experiments conducted by professional scientists that pose zero threat to the physical or mental health of the children.
The program claims to show teens how to be parents by taking care of the children for an extended period. Does that mean the babies are working longer than babies would be allowed to work if they were paid television actors? Hollywood typically has used twins for very small children on television shows to avoid overworking the children.
The program claims to be a "reality show", but the situation is not realistic. The teen guinea pig parents cannot relate to their pretend babies in the same way a real parent would. The babies will not relate to total strangers the way they would to their parents.
I have heard enough about the psychological problems many former child actors had to believe that children should only be used in television programs if absolutely necessary. This program is not necessary.