Bid to turn off child TV stars

Greece’s watchdog for children’s rights has written to the government to complain about TV shows that allegedly exploit youngsters in the wake of a program being aired on Greek TV where young children go through dance auditions. Deputy Children’s Ombudsman Giorgos Moschos revealed yesterday that he had written to government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, who is also minister of state and in charge of matters to do with the media, to express his concern about the mental pressure and physical stress being put on youngsters. Some 500 children aged between 6 and 11 have auditioned for the weekly «Baby Dance» show on Alpha TV over the last two months. Similar to the show for grownups «So, You Think You Can Dance,» the youngsters are put through their paces by judges who decide who is the best dancer. Moschos called on Roussopoulos to protect children from reality TV and talent shows. The deputy ombudsman told Kathimerini that a number of people have expressed their concern about the nature of these TV shows as they force children to grow up faster than they should and make some youngsters the objects of sexual desire. «Speeding up the process by which a child reaches sexual maturity is an abuse of its rights to grow up playing innocently,» said Moschos. «What is ultimately the point of these shows?» He accused the producers of programs involving young children of failing to provide professional psychological support for the minors or help to the adults who work with them learn how to treat the youngsters. Moschos said that in his reply Roussopoulos echoed the ombudsman’s concern and said that he is in the process of organizing a conference on the matter.