NBC Guilty of Child Abuse - take action

I hope everyone else here is as shocked and angry at NBC's latest "reality" show, "The Baby Borrowers." NBC has gone right past taking advantage of unfortunate adults for entertainment purposes and directly into child abuse by taking children who are far too young to understand what's happening away from their parents for 3 days.

If you have any shred of doubt that this is actual child abuse, below the fold is a letter from people who know about child abuse first-hand, those dedicated to taking care of children.

Please contact NBC, and especially it's sponsors, and tell them how outrageous it is for a national TV network to engage in child abuse. List of sponsors and contact info is below the fold.
NBC makes it difficult to just e-mail them. you go to this page:

crossposted at Big Orange Satan

you go to this page:
and scroll down to

"Questions not found on FAQ page about NBC Entertainment programming? Email us using the pulldown menu below"
then click on "Other" to send e-mail.

ZERO TO THREE Statement Regarding NBC's Reality Series "Baby Borrowers"

"It's not TV, it's birth control" is how NBC promotes its new reality series "Baby Borrowers." On June 25th, the show will be launched on national television as an "intriguing new social experiment that asks five diverse teenage couples to fast-track to adulthood by setting up a home, getting a job and becoming caring parents." Unfortunately, the NBC series exploits very young children in the pursuit of entertainment.

The babies and toddlers participating in this series will be separated from their parents and caregivers for three days. Unfamiliar teenagers will take care of them during this time. This setup can be very harmful for the babies and toddlers involved. For the past 80 years, many studies have shown unequivocally that babies and toddlers suffer when they are exposed to this kind of prolonged separation from family and left with people that they do not know or love. As all parents know, babies and toddlers are very distressed by separation. They cry, cling, and search for their parents. The longer the separation, the more upset they become. Some children are unable to sleep and refuse to eat. The responses routinely last long past the child's reunion with the parent. Prolonged separations heighten young children's separation anxiety and damage their trust that their parents will be available to protect and care for them. Children can become angry and rejecting of their parents after being reunited with them, damaging the fabric of the child-parent relationship.

These findings have become the basis for a new science of early childhood. A robust body of early childhood development and brain research clearly confirms the critical nature of early development. It is a time when young children form attachments with parents and caregivers, develop security and a sense of self, and learn what to expect from the world around them. Studies show that babies and toddlers need to feel safe and secure in order to form a positive sense of self, to form healthy relationships, and to feel confident to explore their world. This sense of security is dependent on the availability and stability of their trusted primary caregivers. Being separated for a
three-day period from a parent or trusted, familiar adult, and being thrust into the care of a total stranger who has no experience with the child-how he or she is comforted, likes to be fed, held, etc.-and who has no experience caring for young children at all, can be very stressful for the child.  

As a "safeguard," NBC has hired a nanny to be nearby in case there are concerns.    However the nanny is no more familiar to that child than the two strangers who will be caring for him for three days. The nanny does not know him or what his signals
mean-such as what he needs when he cries out in the middle of the night, or how he shows he is hungry, tired, or is overwhelmed and needs a break from play. Moreover, even though the parents of these young children are watching via closed-circuit television, the babies are not aware of that and have no way of knowing how long the parents will be gone.  

Legitimate social experiments are not conducted on national television or on reality shows. "Baby Borrowers" may have a catchy theme, but it exploits young children with potential harmful consequences. This is no social experiment. It is an extremely misguided endeavor that puts at risk our most vulnerable citizens, young children who need our love and protection.

We welcome your feedback on our ZERO TO THREE Alert at tsalyers@zerotothree.org.

ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families 2000 M St. NW | Suite 200 | Washington, DC | 20036 | (800) 899-4301 | (703) 661-1500


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This is the forum for the show where you have to register to voice your disgust (and they'll probably delete it anyway):
http://boards.nbc.com/nbc/index.php?show forum=252

Tags: child abuse, children's issues, MSM, nbc, Parents (all tags)



Re: NBC Guilty of Child Abuse - take action

Yeah, all those millions of kids all over the country that go off to the baby sitter/daycare/nanny for the first time are totally abused.  Totally.

by Whash 2008-07-01 08:21AM | 0 recs
There's a difference: exploitation.

Kids who go to daycare aren't filmed 24/7 in an effort to bring in money for advertisement sponsors.

by Shem 2008-07-01 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: There's a difference: exploitation.

That may make it exploitative and the parents certainly suck for it, but that isn't something that's hurting these kids.  You want to criticize NBC and the parents, feel free.  I'm totally with you on that.  But these kids aren't being abused anymore than any kid sent to daycare or a nanny, or babysat by any new family member is.  

by Whash 2008-07-01 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: There's a difference: exploitation.

We can sit here and hate NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS for making the same trash television they have made for years and will continue to make.

This is 100% on the parents and I hope the parents in this case get charged.

I know this goes against conventional thinking, but ultimately PARENTS are responsible for their kids.

by DemsLandslide2008 2008-07-01 08:52AM | 0 recs
read what the experts think

you are just flat wrong and totally ignorant here Whash.

these children are supposedly taken from their parents for 3 days, how the fuck is that like going to Daycare for a few hours?

again, if you took the time to read what people who know and care about child development say about this, you'd be better off and wouldn't make an ass of yourself as you're doing.
just painfully ignorant and uncaring, i hope you if you ever have kids you grow up some before you do.

by catchaz 2008-07-01 09:12AM | 0 recs
Does the babysitter

take care of them for 72 consecutive hours?

by JJE 2008-07-01 08:56AM | 0 recs
Sometimes, yeah.

I worked as a camp babysitter one summer, watching the two-year-old son of two of the camp staffers while they worked.  He'd get up after they went off to work, and go to sleep before they came back, so we could frequently go several days without him seeing his parents for more than a minute or two in passing.  He was fine.

Glad to know I'm a child abuser, though.  I'll keep it in mind.  I'm sure all of the relatives out there who watch their young nieces/nephews/grandkids for days on end because their parents have to go to a funeral or a conference or whatever would also be interested to know this.

by Elsinora 2008-07-01 10:27AM | 0 recs
I see

this is just a perfectly normal, run-of-the-mill situation, not at all an exceptional circumstance that people generally try to avoid.  Nothing to worry about.

by JJE 2008-07-01 10:33AM | 0 recs
It's not ideal.

But it's not child abuse, either, by any stretch.  Exploitation, yeah.  But that is a whole different issue.

By your definition, putting a baby up for adoption,  allowing your dangerously sick toddler to be taken to the ICU for several days, or leaving your child with family/acquaintances for a weekend because you're a single parent and can't take care of a baby and attend a required job conference out-of-state at the same time would be child abuse.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there are an awful lot of parents out there for whom being able to spend time with their kid and being able to feed their kid are all but mutually exclusive.  That is NOT the case of the parents participating in this show.  But to label parents who literally have no other options abusers is just plain wrong, and I daresay any person who labels "being away from your child for a weekend but leaving them with someone who will make sure they are taken care of" as child abuse needs a good, fat dose of reality--or at the very least, somebody to give their elitist, suburban bubble a good prick.

by Elsinora 2008-07-01 10:53AM | 0 recs

The circumstances of the show are exploitative.  Simply leaving your kids in someone else's care for a few days is not.

by Elsinora 2008-07-01 10:54AM | 0 recs

I agree with you that "child abuse" is a bit hyperbolic, but this is still gross.

by JJE 2008-07-01 11:23AM | 0 recs

In that case, we're in full agreement. :)

by Elsinora 2008-07-01 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: It's not ideal.

I think exploitation of young children is abusive

by Hollede 2008-07-01 10:57AM | 0 recs

Nowhere did I question that.  Simply leaving a child with a caretaker for three days, however, is not abusive.

by Elsinora 2008-07-01 11:11AM | 0 recs


by Hollede 2008-07-01 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Sometimes, yeah.

That really is different. You were familiar to the child, s/he was seeing the parents, even if just a short time, and there weren't a bunch of cameras and tv people around. I would think these would add up to a fairly stressfull situation for the babies.

by Hollede 2008-07-01 10:55AM | 0 recs
I never met the child in my life...

before that summer, and I haven't seen him since.  And no, there weren't video cameras...just a sea of unfamiliar campers, counselors, animals, and settings, which has the same overstimulating effect.

by Elsinora 2008-07-01 11:13AM | 0 recs
what the feck?!?

what kind of parent would do this?



by canadian gal 2008-07-01 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Guilty of Child Abuse - take action

This is pretty disgusting. As a Child Protection Investigator, I understand first hand how terribly abusive this is. Placing young children with strangers is almost worse than leaving them in abusive homes. I am sure that the children will be monitered (I hope) and they get to see their parents during this time, so it will not be as traumatic as, say a foster home, but tv is trying to push the envelope with reality shows that involve families and children, and here I think we see the envelope drop off the edge of the table.

by Hollede 2008-07-01 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Guilty of Child Abuse - take action

As a CPI do you think there is a chance a CPI could go after the parents and/or the studio.

Im sure the studio thinks they got all the loose ends tied up with waivers and disclaimers.

But in the end, the parents put their kids in danger and thought it was legit because a billion dollar production company was running it.

The one thing with Children is their welfare trumps any kind of private contracts in the court.

Holly, if the children are abused/hurt/mistreated who would be the culprit, the studio for causing it or the parents for comprimising the children in the first place?

by DemsLandslide2008 2008-07-01 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Guilty of Child Abuse - take action

I think that the parents would ultimately be held responsible. It's almost like they are renting their children out for a few days. Now if the parents are around, and seeing their children regularily, they lessen the damage and turn it into more of a babysitting situation. The studio is culpable because they are producing this crap, but I would doubt that they could be charged. However, I live in MN, and I suppose they are in CA, so anything is possible.

Some of these reality shows are really disgusting, so personally I would like to charge them all with brain melting, but I suppose that won't happen either. Oh BTW I just posted a diary I have been working on for a week or so on child protection. It's called a broken system. Check it out if you are interested.

by Hollede 2008-07-01 10:44AM | 0 recs

Where is "Focus on the Family" when you need them?

Oh thats right they dont care about Children or Families.

by DemsLandslide2008 2008-07-01 08:46AM | 0 recs
Okay attack me, but...

1. this is a supervised event, they might be strangers but they are being watched, closely.

2. the idea of showing kids who want to have babies (they really exist, I worked with them) what having a baby is really like is a great idea.

A blind attack on the idea I think is a bad idea if it has a potential greater good.

by IowaMike 2008-07-01 09:08AM | 0 recs
abuse these kids for the good of others...

that's literally insane.

by catchaz 2008-07-01 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay attack me, but...

yah but you are using real babies, not eggs or one of those dolls that takes sensor readings.

by Hollede 2008-07-01 10:48AM | 0 recs
Child labor law applies as well

Making money off children has strict legal limits.  Child labor law applies if someone is making money, even if the child is not paid.

by dbrown04 2008-07-01 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Guilty of Child Abuse - take action

There you go, they are probably not being abused. it's still kinda awful tho unless their parents are seeing them regularly

by Hollede 2008-07-01 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: NBC Guilty of Child Abuse - take action

I wonder why people so often go to opposite ends of the boxing arena, and then come out swinging when they disagree. Why not try to see what the other is saying? Don't be so black and white about everything.

by Hollede 2008-07-01 11:00AM | 0 recs


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