Saturday, June 26, 2010

'Blinded by the lights of fame and tempted by the lure of riches'

Harvard and Princeton educated sociologist says parents 'have a vested interest in making sure that five-figure per episode paychecks continue to arrive'

Yet another child development expert has spoken out against the Gosselins. (This poor professor has no idea the hate mail about to come her way for daring to suggest this is wrong!) Hilary Levey, whose impressive CV can be found here, worries that reality children are unlike child actors because they are playing themselves on TV, not just a character. "The consequences of having to perform their identity for millions are simply unknown," she says. Levey goes on to say that perhaps parents should not be able to consent to having their children filmed (and asks what parent in their right mind would consent to potty training being filmed?), and wonders whether 6-year-olds, who aren't even old enough for a Facebook account, can consent either. She's right, they cannot consent--they are six.

"Their children shouldn't have to risk a lifetime of suffering to fulfill their parents' 15 minutes of fame. Legislators and lawyers need to step in to tackle these questions and protect the best interests of children."

Commonly we hear here, we don't know how this will affect them so we should stop acting like this could hurt them. But that's the whole point Levey is trying to make--we don't know what will happen to the Gosselins as a result of all this exposure, so we are we even risking it when it comes to six-year-old children? Why take a chance?

Excellent piece: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-06-26-levey25_ST_N.htm

45 sediments (sic) from readers:

MickeyMcKean said...

If one gets away from the blogs - both pro and con - one can find articles such as this one which proves that the public is opening its eyes to what is happening to the children in reality TV shows while the parents enjoy the lifestyle.

The fact is the more the public becomes aware of this child exploitation in general and the Gosselin kids in particular, the more Jon and Kate will be held accountable by the public.

Karma is coming.

JMO.

fidosmommy said...

Admin, thank you for finding and posting articles such as these. They are enlightening and give everyone important information to chew on.

The fact is, we DON'T know how all this will affect Leah, Alexis, Collin, Aaden, Joel and Hannah, or how it will affect Cara and Mady.
But is it worth the risk?

They are, at the moment, essentially lab mice who are undergoing experimentation.

It's horrible.

Administrator said...

She's not saying anything different than what we've been saying, many of us for years now. We're just jealous haters. But she just has the benefit of being an expert to give the opinion more credibility.

This isn't rocket science. You don't experiment on kids. You don't send 7 year olds up in planes to experiment if it can be done. And you don't put 6 year olds on TV their entire life to see what happens.

Carol said...

I can't even put together a scenario in my head in which it WOULD be good for kids to have their private lives and their identity filmed from a very young age, for years, for public consumption and to make their parents wealthy.

First, there's the obvious camera factor. What does it tell the kids that things don't REALLY happen and don't REALLY count, unless there's a film crew there? Get in a little kid's head and think about that: do I not exist unless a camera is on me?

(By the way, I predict that all eight of them, as adults, will be one extreme or the other when it comes to cameras--they will either feel like they can't live without them and pursue attention desperately at every turn or will completely shun them and live an extremely EXTREMELY private, even reclusive life.)

What does it say to kids when they don't spend any time (forget quality time, how about TIME?) with one of their parents (I'm looking at you, Kate) unless the film crew is there and the cameras are rolling?

I can tell you what that tells them: your mother only values you for what you can do for her. Not for you as a PERSON. Your mother's love for you is conditional and if you perform like a trained monkey, you will get attention from her. Once the cameras are off, so is she. Because again, her love for you is conditional.

Gah. I can't even keep going with this, though there are so many other factors to consider, such as developing healthy boundaries (I suspect they have not), developing healthy self-esteem (I suspect they are not and we will start seeing the effects of that in the older girls very soon), the effect on their value system (materialism versus time spent with loved ones, superficiality versus meaningfulness).

The whole thing just seems like a big clusterf&ck and I don't see how anyone can think it causes good things in a kid's life.

Administrator said...

There are many things very disturbing about this Carolina and you've touched on many of them.

I think what's the most disturbing however is that their personalities have become public consumption. We all sort of "know" them more or less. It's not Aaden playing a character reading lines, it's Aaden who is AADEN. He is famous for being him, not acting as someone else.

They say Kate is none of our business? Well I don't think Aaden or any of these children are any of THEIR business. Why is a child I have absolutely no ties to my business? Why can't his business belong to his close family and friends and not 3 million strangers?

Kelly said...

It's maddening, that's what it is. Plain and simple. These kids are never taken anyplace with the parents unless they notify the paps or there's a TLC camera crew in tow. What you do see is the mother constantly out getting mani/pedi's, shopping alone, filling her car with gas and doing the talk show circuit.

You see dad with yet again, another girlfriend, giving an interview like he's working on another secret project, getting drunk in public and doing the the most contemptible things.

With all the camera's focused on this family, you never see a mom dropping off their child to play with the Gosselin Kids, nor do you ever see Kate or Jon dropping off the kids at a friends house. They have no social skills and don't participate in any youth leagues, athletic programs, cheerleading, gymnastics, go to the library or even go to church and the church thing is a real slap in the face to the very people these parents cried poor mouth to and pretended to be one of them.

These parents are LIARS and I would welcome them to come after me for saying that. In fact, I doubt they would go after anyone for libel or defamation as then they would have to prove they aren't what a large majority thinks they are, through discovery.

There is definetly a rising tide of anger towards them for what they claim to be doing but what we all know isn't the truth. For now and in the future, the more they open their mouths the deeper the hole they dig themselves into and the more damage they do to their children.

Carol said...

Exactly. They are just a commodity, not an actual person. That's what this is doing to them, anyone who engages in logic can see that.

And as Kelly pointed out so well, they have never had a normal life and probably never will unless they go to certain lengths to achieve it as adults.

Moon and Mango said...

"They have no social skills and don't participate in any youth leagues, athletic programs, cheerleading, gymnastics,"

Kelly, because one doesn't see them visiting friends, etc., doesn't mean it's not happening. Cameras aren't on them 24/7. I do know for a fact they do go to birthday parties, sleep overs, participate in sports events and school activities (no cheerleading...the school doesn't have cheerleaders). Social skills take time to develop, and these will come. They are not totally isolated from the world -- they are involved in things that the public doesn't see, and most likely will not see. Hard to believe, huh?

"With all the camera's focused on this family, you never see a mom dropping off their child to play with the Gosselin Kids, nor do you ever see Kate or Jon dropping off the kids at a friends house"

There's a reason for this...PRIVACY for the other family/families and their children. There's much more to this issue than is public knowledge, and that's the way it will remain.

It's going to take a tragic event to pull the plug on filming, and that's what scares me. I think the more negative things are written, and the more she is warned about the consequences of exposing and exploiting her children, the more determined she will be to continue...if for no other reason, just out of spite. She wants to be the winner in all of this -- not the public and not her children.

Just saying said...

Kelly, just because we don't see a photo of something, it doesn't mean it hasn't happened.

Infrequent poster said...

Moon and Mango, thank you for offering a bit of "reality" to the conversation. I haven't read much here, but I will assume you live in the area or perhaps have a reliable source.

What you say makes sense to me. There is a lot of garbage to wade through with what the gossip sites put up almostly daily, and we mustn't jump to the conclusion that what we see is all that goes on.

I recall that at one time Cara was playing soccer after school for example. Perhaps she still is. How would we know for sure? Let me add, I do not WANT to know. I respect her privacy, IOW.

Credibility really comes into question when statements are made that have no bearing in fact, only speculation. Soon the speculation becomes fact, erroneously, and there goes credibility. To make the children sound like caged animals that are let out only for filming just is not credible. Those kinds of statements make efforts to bring Kate and TLC to task more difficult if the public judges comments being made here are based on hysteria, gossip, rumor and innuendo.

Judy said...

I wonder if the mother who stated, "One of my biggest fears is being put out of commission", took the time to read this?
Apparently NOT !

http://www.botoxcosmetic.com/What_About_Safety.aspx

AuntieAnn said...

I'm sure it would be very revealing to a child development expert if they were to sit down with the Gosselin kids and asked each one of them if they could define what the word "normal" means to them, without their mother present.

Carol said...

So for those who seem disinclined to believe this is harming the kids, care to address the points I made, which do not rely on guessing about things, but only on what we know?

fidosmommy said...

There is (somewhere) a segment of an episode where Kate tells Mady that if she doesn't do her chores, she won't be going to her friend's house to play. There were children at the 6 year olds' birthday party for the little ones to play with. Mady and Cara each invited a friend to that same party. A friend went with them to the Jonas Brothers concert. Mady and Cara were best friends with an older girl, Talia, who was Beth Carson's daughter. Talia came over for a sleepover for the twins' birthday celebration when they turned seven (?).

They have friends. We don't know if they have a large circle of friends or just a few close ones. I hope they have both. What they don't seem to have is interaction with relatives.

Anonymous said...

Just Sayin': Don't be so self righteous

Carol said...

Selling their private lives and identities for public consumption is harmful to them and will continue to be harmful to them.

It's wrong, and parents who are protective of their children and want them to have a happy, normal life would never agree to it, not for any amount of money.

AuntieAnn said...

Just saying said...
Kelly, just because we don't see a photo of something, it doesn't mean it hasn't happened.
~~~~~~~~
To which one could also say, just because we've seen something on a reality show, it doesn't mean it HAS happened.

IDModo said...

Seems to me the issue is not whether the kids have SOME normalizing experiences (friends, sleepovers etc.)but whether these experiences are outweighed by the constant barrage of publicity that their parents force them to be a part of.
The fact that their most intimate childhood moments are filmed to be seen by millions;the fact that the show has spawned cults of fans and non-fans who make them regularly available internet material; the fact that they are continually embarrassed by a mother whose bizarre and self-aggrandizing behaviour is chronicled in all the tabloids;the fact that their personal boundaries have been destroyed by the camera;the fact that they are expected to have relationships with a multitude of people who are not normally in a child's life (bodyguards, producers, camera crews) and to form friendships with them; I could go on but we all know the list by heart..
How can any of these things in itself not be seen as harmful, and taken all together, not be seen by someone in authority as a reason to stop filming this family?
I have yet to hear from the Professional Associations (Academy of Psychiatry, Associations of Social Workers or Psychologists or Teachers or Early Childhood Educators)on this issue.Occasionally some brave soul ventures a professional opinion, but where are the people who are dedicated to the maintenance of mentally healthy children? These professional groups are silent. Shame on them.
Until they get into the mix and begin to protest this atrocity publicly, I have little hope for change, no matter how hard we try.

jamie said...

The Gosselins just crave attention and because of that they will pass that onto their kids, wait till they become teens and everything they do will be mocked by their classmates and others.

Just saying said...

jamie, they could also become the most popular kids in school with everyone wanting to be their friend.

Administrator said...

Kids are not stupid. How does it make them feel when everyone wants to be their friend just because they are famous? Like they cannot trust anyone, everyone's motives are suspect. Is my best friend really my best friend or is she just hanging around me so I'll invite him to my second home in Europe for the summer?

Close family friends of mine have a famous parents and the drawbacks stink.

jamie said...

Ahhhh, Jus sayin..Classmates will want to be their friends cause they have a TV Show, for that my Dear is not a good thing cause they will never know if someone likes them for them or because of fame n money..they lose

jamie said...

To Admin..you are absolutely correct, those kids will never know who their true friends will be, look at all the Hollywood kiddies, all but a few have gone down a dark path because of fame. Those who can't seem to see that have and always will wear blinders.

Anonymous said...

http://tv.msn.com/video/tv/?g=128deb18-dca1-4953-b885-8ca49557c748&from=en-us_msnhp&gt1=28103

Why isn't she being asked if they didn't live in that house, or tan/mani/pedi all the time, etc? She is still singing the - we are poor and this is my only choice tune.

Save the 8!!

Just another girl....

CJ said...

These kids will always be a novelty (especially the tups) because of their birth. Because their parents decided to have every moment of their lives filmed for our viewing pleasure we know more than we want/ need to about them personally.
How much do we know about the Dilley sextuplets? Almost nothing, because their lives have been private.

Hawks Fan said...

I think these pictures are so telling

http://www.infdaily.com/2010/05/the-gosselin-kids-bond-with-jons-new-girlfriend.html

Its obvious these kids are screaming out of any kind of contact or affection from a "mother figure."
It's just not normal for kids to cling to someone who is basically a stranger. I wonder if they also behave this way with the camera crew? Don't these 2 idiot parents see how odd this behavior is?

It's also obvious that scum bag Jon set this photo up since he is carrying a copy of InTouch in one of the pics. These kids are going to go through life always wondering who or what is real and what is nothing more than a photo op. Jon seems to be the more loving parent, but I also think many of the pics we see of him interacting with the kids is done merely for the benefit of the cameras. He knows that's all he's got going for him in area of public opinion so play it up big. If we can see this, the kids will surely at some point will see it too. Good way to make your kids feel self confident and secure. Neither one of them deserve to be parents.

Hawks Fan said...

BTW these pics were taken May 24th. It was reported on ROL, the Gosselins personal PR magazine, that Ellen met the kids for the first time May 23rd.

Just saying said...

Anonymous said...

http://tv.msn.com/video/tv/?g=128deb18-dca1-4953-b885-8ca49557c748&from=en-us_msnhp&gt1=28103

Why isn't she being asked if they didn't live in that house, or tan/mani/pedi all the time, etc? She is still singing the - we are poor and this is my only choice tune.

Save the 8!!

Just another girl....
June 26, 2010 11:27 AM
******************
I didn't hear her singing "we are poor.....". She just said, no, she didn't have enough to retire right now. As for the mani/pedis, how much can that be? I live in an expensive area and can get mine for $40/month!

Carolina Gal said...

I suspect they are not and we will start seeing the effects of that in the older girls very soon
~~~
Carol, excellent post. I don't disagree w/this statement..however, to add to it..I think the older girls may have more problems than the tups. They have the added 'burden' of wondering whether they are as 'important' as the tups. I'm sure if they haven't yet, they will figure out, that the tups are the reason for their whole lives being turned upside down. How will the twins' relationship w/their younger siblings be affected over the years, by all of this?

Anonymous said...

I too wish an interviewer would ask her - If the main reason for doing the show was to secure college for the kids, why wasn't that the #1 financial priority over expensive cars for both parents, a mansion, plastic surgery, hundreds of dollars of shoes, nannies, etc. After college funds are secure, shouldn't those things have come next as opposed to first.

Anonymous said...

I thought TLC paid for everything?

lori said...

Gee I thought TLC paid for everything to Anon, but apparently she claims she is broke and needs money cause she gets paid peanuts...she lies and ya can tell cause those lips of hers move...

Carolina Gal said...

Just another girl....
June 26, 2010 11:27 AM
******************
I didn't hear her singing "we are poor.....". She just said, no, she didn't have enough to retire right now. As for the mani/pedis, how much can that be? I live in an expensive area and can get mine for $40/month!
~~~
Have you not seen Kate enough to know how to read between the lines? Kate will NEVER say they are in good shape, she's saved the monies they've earned as security in the future, etc. One reason I'm betting is she hasn't. BUT even if she had, she'd never say they're set, that would possible end her 'career'. I live in a nice area also, mani/pedis are $40 and Kate goes at least 1X a wk., I don't know what tanning is, I've never gone...but I'm sure that's at least $40 or more a wk.

Moon and Mango said...

You all are missing something important here when discussing the children's friends wanting to be hanger-on-ers just for the sake of being popular. They don't need to! Many of these classmates have parents who themselves are well-known in many circles, who have influential friends and travel world-wide...physicians, researchers, engineers, politicians and the like. They are not impressed by the Gosselins or their lifestyle because they, themselves live equally as well (or better).
We're not talking about the dregs of society here.

Babsy said...

They are not impressed by the Gosselins or their lifestyle because they, themselves live equally as well (or better).
We're not talking about the dregs of society here.


...however, I am sure the Gosselin's are fodder for the gossip mills. PTA moms often gossip and criticize and don't care who is in earshot. I am sure some of the 8's peers have heard much and aren't afraid to mention what they've heard to the kids. Perhaps some parents at the school have even discouraged friendships for fear of the paparazzi or questioning by the rag mags...

OzNTM said...

Moon and Mango, but are they on tv? A child's father could be the best brain surgeon in the world, but to kids, being on tv trumps that - it's far more exciting to know someone on tv than it is (in a childs opinion) to know someone whose parents are wealthy, exceptional in their chosen field, etc simply because it's tv! I recall reading an article somewhere where children were talking about what their parents do and one child said something like "So and so's lucky because their parents are on tv, my dad's only a doctor", the kicker being that this child's father was one of the best in the world in his field!

Call Me Crazy said...

Just saying said ...

"...As for the mani/pedis, how much can that be? I live in an expensive area and can get mine for $40/month!"

Hi Just saying. You seem to have forgotten about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Kate reportedly made from her appearance on DWTS, the expensive cars, the thousands upon thousands of dollars spent (misspent) on her appearance, etc. The simple fact is, any mother who is TRULY worried about having enough money to support her children and see them through college would be very, very careful about her expenditures. And if TLC is footing the bill for a lot of this stuff, doesn't it make sense to you that any mother TRULY concerned with the college issue would say, "You know what, TLC, I don't need the expensive hair and vehicles and cosmetic procedures, so please just take that money you were going to give me for those things and put it directly into college accounts for my kids." That would make a whole lot more sense if she was all that concerned about the kiddies and their education.


Moon and Mango said...

"You all are missing something important here when discussing the children's friends wanting to be hanger-on-ers just for the sake of being popular. They don't need to! Many of these classmates have parents who themselves are well-known in many circles, who have influential friends and travel world-wide...physicians, researchers, engineers, politicians and the like. They are not impressed by the Gosselins or their lifestyle because they, themselves live equally as well (or better).
We're not talking about the dregs of society here."

Hi Moon and Mango - I'm sorry, but I must say that this is a terribly elitist, and naive, comment. Just because someone is a physician or researcher or engineer or politician, and that person may have influential friends or be a world-wide traveler, it does not mean that that person cannot also be petty, jealous, unethical, or unkind, or be desirous of associating with those who are highly recognized persons of fame. I am curious who these "dregs of society," are who would behave in a manner unlike those with "respectable" careers that you named. Wealth and status have nothing to do with whether someone is a decent human being.

Carolina Gal said...

Wealth and status have nothing to do with whether someone is a decent human being.
~~~
Unfortunately, that IS what some people measure a man's character and integrity by...his status, income, career, etc. Shallow, absolutely?

pepper said...

I totally agree with "Call me Crazy" in her response to "Moon and Mango" regarding the "these are not the dregs of society" comment.

Back to the point that Moon and Mango seems to think we are missing: kids will be kids whether or not their parents are wealthy, influential or well-traveled. They want to be friends with other kids who are "cool". The Gosselin kids are on national TV. In my opinion, and looking at it from a kids point of view, being on a TV show trumps having a parent with a prestigious profession.

This is my first comment here. I have just been reading along, but felt I had to put my two cents in on this one.

Babsy said...

They are not impressed by the Gosselins or their lifestyle because they, themselves live equally as well (or better).
We're not talking about the dregs of society here.


...however, I am sure the Gosselin's are fodder for the gossip mills. PTA moms often gossip and criticize and don't care who is in earshot. I am sure some of the 8's peers have heard much and aren't afraid to mention what they've heard to the kids. Perhaps some parents at the school have even discouraged friendships for fear of the paparazzi or questioning by the rag mags...

Just saying said...

Anonymous said...

http://tv.msn.com/video/tv/?g=128deb18-dca1-4953-b885-8ca49557c748&from=en-us_msnhp&gt1=28103

Why isn't she being asked if they didn't live in that house, or tan/mani/pedi all the time, etc? She is still singing the - we are poor and this is my only choice tune.

Save the 8!!

Just another girl....
June 26, 2010 11:27 AM
******************
I didn't hear her singing "we are poor.....". She just said, no, she didn't have enough to retire right now. As for the mani/pedis, how much can that be? I live in an expensive area and can get mine for $40/month!

CJ said...

These kids will always be a novelty (especially the tups) because of their birth. Because their parents decided to have every moment of their lives filmed for our viewing pleasure we know more than we want/ need to about them personally.
How much do we know about the Dilley sextuplets? Almost nothing, because their lives have been private.

jamie said...

To Admin..you are absolutely correct, those kids will never know who their true friends will be, look at all the Hollywood kiddies, all but a few have gone down a dark path because of fame. Those who can't seem to see that have and always will wear blinders.

jamie said...

Ahhhh, Jus sayin..Classmates will want to be their friends cause they have a TV Show, for that my Dear is not a good thing cause they will never know if someone likes them for them or because of fame n money..they lose

jamie said...

The Gosselins just crave attention and because of that they will pass that onto their kids, wait till they become teens and everything they do will be mocked by their classmates and others.

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