While the premiere of the fifth season of Jon & Kate Plus 8 drew a record 9.8 million viewers, Jon and Kate Gosselin are inflicting child abuse on their brood through the constant filming for the reality show, an expert exclusively tells RadarOnline.com. While the family gets many perks -- from free trips to free clothes -- the eight kids are being subjected to an environment that could inflict potentially long-term emotional damage.
“I don’t care if the father goes out and gets run over, or the mother shoots herself, that’s their choices. They’re adults. These poor children are being televised. It’s outrageous. Of course it has an effect.” Dr. Michael Brody, Media Chairman of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry said. He believes that the scrutiny, attention, and responsibilities placed on the children “is child abuse.”
“It creates a family situation where things are not genuine. This kind of behavior makes people into great actors and actresses, living this double life.” he added, commenting on the potential disparity between what is caught on camera versus the actual reality of Gosselins’ day-to-day lives.
“Here you have a situation where there is no privacy. The worst parts of their lives are probably picked up for the TV show because that makes good drama. The kids will learn how to deal with each of the parents in a certain way that is scripted and false and then they develop a false sense of themselves. They will not have real relationships with either parent.”
Brody -- who has never spoken with the Gosselins -- wrote Messages: Self Help Through Popular Culture and teaches a course on Children and Media at the University of Maryland. Even in normal situations he notes that “family life has become nothing more than career development - in terms of what camps the kids go to so they can get into a better college.”
In the extreme case of the Gosselins, that concept is taken to a whole different level. “This is just too much enhancement and these kids are too young, they’re helpless. They’re not given any choice in this. Some of the kids might like the attention but this just doesn’t work. This show is just outrageous.”
So five seasons in, Brody only sees one possible solution to help better the children’s lives: “The only way to help these kids is to get them off television. Somebody should intercede, some organization. The show should stop, aren’t there child labor laws? Can’t these kids have some protection?”