The Information and Broadcast Ministryhave issued an advisory to private TV channels to guide them to prevent indecent portrayal of children in dance reality shows or other such programmes. The advisory notes that in some dance reality TV shows children have been found to copy dance sequences of adults from movies through their choreographer.

“These moves are often suggestive and age-inappropriate. Such acts may also have a distressing effect on children, impacting them at a young and impressionable age,” a statement from the ministry said.

The ministry specifically talks about the dance reality showswherein children between the age of 5 and 10 are selected and are shown dancing to Bollywood songs tunes or other local songs. “The child participants enact and imitate grown-up actors which include some inappropriate dance movements executed by kids,” noted the statement.

It has directed the TV channels to follow the provisions contained in programme & Advertising codes prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 & the Rules framed thereunder. These provisions involve instruction to private TV channels to exercise maximum restraint, sensitivity and caution while showing such reality shows and programmes.

According to the provisions mentioned by the ministry, TV channels aren’t allowed to run any programme, which denigrates children. Further, programmes meant for children should not contain any use of offensive language or explicit scenes of violence.

Shows like Super Dancer (Sony Entertainment Television) and Dance India Dance L’il Masters (Zee TV) besides other popular formats like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs (Zee TV), Indian Idol Junior (Sony) and Sabse Bada Kalakar (Sony) will have to abide by the directive of I&B ministry.

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“Usually the participants are at a very young age and their cognitive tendency and emotional understanding are yet to develop. Their formal thought process begins with puberty from the age of 14 and so on.  So below 14, the age groups are very gullible and vulnerable because most of their learning happens through imitation and imbibing. If they imbibe the actions and gestures of actors to please others because they feel that they are being appreciated for recreating those dance movesbut they don’t understand the underlying emotion behind those moves. While the child may be appreciated for recreating the dance, it will inspire other children also towards that path,” Psychologist Anita Mishra told SheThePeople.TV.

She added that emotional repercussions and understanding is a much deeper aspect of it. “Their executive brain develops at a much later stage. These dance reality shows play a major role in setting a wrong example. Even if children don’t understand a particular gesture but they are forced to do it to win the show which should be the case at all.”

Usually the participants are at a very young age and their cognitive tendency and emotional understanding are yet to develop. Their formal thought process begins with puberty from the age of 14 and so on.  So below 14, the age groups are very gullible and vulnerable because most of their learning happens through imitation and imbibing.

This especially happens in the case of suggestive songs which children have to sing in singing competition shows, in a way by making them sing those songs, we are pre-setting that button which allows them to grow up before they usually should, noted Mishra.

TV critic Shailaja Bajpai told Live Mint, “We all agree that the depiction, portrayal and use of children on TV is something we should be careful about and pay attention to. But there are so many issues here — after all, parents of the children haven’t been forced to these shows. Besides, so many Hindi film songs are of this nature so how do you work with anybody under age? While this intervention is healthy, how it is implemented remains a grey area.” she added.

Picture credit- The Fast Mail

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