Show provides opportunities, not exploitation for children

June 29, 2009

by Samantha Horn

Over the past few years, TLC’s reality show Jon and Kate Plus 8 has gained an enormous amount of attention from a national audience.

The show features Jon and Kate Gosselin with their twin girls, Mady and Cara, and sextuplets, Joel, Collin, Aaden, Hannah, Alexis and Leah.

The television show gives its viewers a peek into everyday life of raising twins and sextuplets and has even sparked spinoff series featuring even larger families.

One thing that makes Jon and Kate Plus 8 different than the other shows is the real “reality” factor.

The Gosselin family takes pride in being the same on and off camera. Kate is known as being dramatic and obsessive while Jon is typically more laid back and the kids each have a personality of their own, which often gets them into trouble.

Jon and Kate Plus 8 recently celebrated its 100th episode, but on the eve of this milestone, the show was rocked by speculation, a media frenzy and even talk of a possible divorce for the now famous couple.

Just before the debut of the show’s fifth season, reports surfaced of marital tension between Jon and Kate and, to the dismay of many viewers, the first episodes of the new season revealed the strain.

After the beginning of the new season, news media began to discuss the issue of child exploitation related to the show.

I understand the argument that the children are being filmed constantly and are growing up in front a camera, but I do not feel that they are being exploited.

Anyone who has watched the show can see that the children are very comfortable in front of the cameras and seem to enjoy having more people around to play with.

The Gosselins have been filmed visiting places that many children can only dream of going to such as beaches, amusement parks, bakeries and exploration centers.

None of these things would have been possible for the children without the show, which brings in about $3 million per year.

Some people argue that the children are being done a disservice with the show, but in reality, they now have opportunities that most parents wish they could provide for their children.

I have never seen an episode of the show where the children appeared mistreated or unloved in any way. I think that as long as the children are happy doing the show, it is just fine to continue.

As for Jon and Kate’s announced divorce, I think that should be between the two of them, but I do believe the couple will continue to do what is best for their children.

Samantha Horn is a junior journalism major from Quitman who serves as editor-in-chief for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to snh014@latech.edu.