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Why you need to stop watching Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras, even though they’re entertaining

Dance Moms has Abby Lee Miller, who’s a made-for-TV character with her awful screaming and horrible behavior, and the dance moms themselves certainly contribute a lot of entertainment with their hypocrisy and stage mom personas. And Toddlers & Tiaras is like a trainwreck and fascinating to watch.

But they also have kids who don’t deserve to be publicly humiliated, even if they’re sometimes little brats. Would you have wanted your childhood’s worst moments broadcast to the world and mocked by people online and elsewhere? In a Daily Beast essay, I make that argument.

I do struggle with this, not just because the shows can be entertaining, but because I find other shows that star kids to be far less egregious, such as CBS’ awesome and underrated Kid Nation (deal with it!).

I’m never one to think that we need to protect kids from what they see on television, such as language or sex, but when they themselves are television, that’s a different story, I think. It seems pretty unethical to produce, broadcast, and watch these shows. Here’s why.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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