MK charges 'Super Nanny' with exploiting kids, not helping them

Arye Eldad: Popular TV show exploits kids, rather than helping them.

super nanny 224.63 (photo credit: Courtesy )
super nanny 224.63
(photo credit: Courtesy )
Each week on the television series Super Nanny, child-development expert Michal Daliot advises a different family on how to overcome parenting problems. But MK Arye Eldad (NU/NRP) insists this nanny is far from super, claiming the popular program exploits young children in pursuit of TV ratings, and demanding it cease broadcasts immediately. "In recent weeks I have been exposed to the program Super Nanny that is broadcast on Channel 2," Eldad wrote in a letter to Nurit Daboush, chairwoman of the Second Authority for Television and Radio. "In each program, small children are portrayed, while they act in an insubordinate manner, yelling or even spitting at their parents, or in others, parents are seen yelling at their children, speaking to them vulgarly and even hitting them - and all this in front of Super Nanny and, naturally, in front of the rest of the viewers." Channel 2 airs the program on Tuesday evenings, competing in a prime-time slot with Channel 10's runaway hit, Survivor. Super Nanny is the Israeli version of the two popular British and American reality series of the same name; the UK version first went on the air in 2004 and the American version in 2005. "These days, when television channels fight over every scrap of ratings, it seems that all of the boundaries have been crossed, and the ends justifies the means," Eldad wrote to Daboush. "It seems to me that the use of helpless children, with the goal of educating their parents and giving advice to viewers, wise at it may be, is extremely unethical and possibly even illegal." All of the personal details of the families - and of the children - are accessible to the general public, not only through the program itself but also on its Web site. There, a search under the heading "The families" calls up pictures of the children, their ages, and the city in which they live, alongside details about the parents and their employment. Eldad called on Channel 2 to cease broadcasts of the show pending a legal clarification as to whether the program violates the children's rights. He sent similar letters to National Council for the Child Chairman Yitzhak Kadman and to MK Nadia Hilou (Labor), chairwoman of the Knesset's Committee for Children's Rights, asking that a discussion be held in the legislature on Super Nanny's content. Keshet, the television franchise that produces the show responded to Eldad's allegations Wednesday, saying that "the program Super Nanny is designed to aid families through solving problems and is based on a format that is broadcast throughout the world. The program presents reality as it is, even in complex situations in which professional aid is especially necessary." "Families that participated in the program have attested to a significant improvement following the process, which also benefits the public who is exposed to it. Regulators and legislators around the world have understood that the educational benefit of the program is much greater than the exposure that it gives," Keshet concluded.