Should There Be Child Labor Laws for Reality TV?

As the rumors continue to fly regarding the rocky relationship between Jon & Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8, an even more serious issue has come to light--the Pennsylvania labor department has launched an investigation to discover whether the TLC show is complying with the state's child labor laws.

This complaint brings about an interesting discussion, as child labor laws don't currently apply to kids on reality shows. Why? Because the kids are doing the same things they'd be doing if the cameras weren't there, so it doesn't count as actual labor.

According to a lawyer who E! Online interviewed, "Show producers are not taking the kids away from their studies, making them memorize lines, or taking them away from socialization."  He added, "The law would probably say that when the children are sitting at home using a coloring book or going to a soccer game, and they're being filmed, they're not doing someone else's business. They're doing their own business."

When kids are working on scripted shows, rules apply--they can only work a certain amount of hours a day, they have to take breaks and they must have on-set tutors. These same rules don't apply to reality show kids like the Gosselins.

And it isn't just the Plus 8 part of Jon & Kate. The WE network will be premiering their own show about sextuplets, Raising Sextuplets, on June 11. And Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom, has signed a deal which will allow her eight kids to star in a reality television show.

The problem is that we don't know yet how these reality shows will affect the kids' childhoods. It's a pretty good assumption that the Gosselin kids are going to have some trouble when they get older and Google their parents. But aside from the outright drama, how will a camera in their face day in and day out affect them?

Perhaps, because it is such unknown territory, it's best to set laws into place now so that we don't have to see negative consequences in the future. What do you think?

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