On the reality shows, especially the ones specializing in talent , children as young as two years old, are able to audition and perform in the finals. The heartbreak of not winning is sometimes just too much for them, as they are not prepared for the disappointment of having to leave the competition.
Take a look at the show, The X Factor. Young reality stars, Rachael Crow and Astro, when eliminated showed that they were just children, set in a real world. Astro reacted with a belligerent attitude accepting his defeat in a manner displayed by a typical young boy with his feelings hurt. His young age prevented him from accepting defeat, an adjustment which often occurs when a young man is in his early teens.
Rachel Crow was another example. Everyone should have been moved emotionally, as they watched the genuine disappointment she displayed. Her reaction to disappointment was heart breaking. She, too young to fully comprehend defeat, experienced a tearful display.
These two children are a perfect example of the stress and strain that competing in reality talent shows affords contestants. The older, more mature, person can accept defeat and disappointment with more finesse and hide their emotions. Children have not experienced such an emotional disappointment.
Should young people compete on these shows? Competition in any form is hard and grueling, no matter the age of the participant. In addition to a song coach, make up and costume people, there ought to be someone who can prepare these young people to accept disappointment and defeat. This type of defeat can damage the talent that they have, unless they are hyped up to accept it as a contest. As most contests, they must be reminded that some win and others must accept defeat.
Are parents to blame for pushing their young children into the talent world? Are they preparing their children for the possiblity of defeat? Are they the force behind the pressure to win? Children, who compete in these reality shows, need family support. If no family member is available, a good friend, aunt, or uncle needs to be there for them.
A prize of a recording contract is a tempting reason to enter a competition for a young child. Failure to win is a hard thing to accept, when their heart is set on winning. This loss could scar a child emotionally for a long time, especially if they were led to believe that they would win.
Reality television needs to consider the emotional upheaval not winning could do to a young child. It might be a good idea to set the age limits higher so that young children cannot compete. .