Stay tuned for The Baby Borrowers, NBC’s latest reality show due to hit the airwaves this summer. It’s billed as a social experiment that asks five teenage couples to fast-track to adulthood by becoming caring parents to babies, toddlers, and pre-teens. In one episode the teens are charged with the care of a toddler and are required to provide for the child just as a parent would. The teens are video monitored 24/7 by the parents who are positioned in the house next door. Sounds compelling.
But it seems not everyone’s excited. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has petitioned NBC requesting that The Baby Borrowers be docked. They cite concerns over potential separation anxiety in the child participants. I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, the opportunity to leave my kids with a sitter represents a real therapeutic break for both my children, myself and my wife. Distance makes the heart grow fonder … especially when you live with a strong-willed four-year-old.
While short-term The Baby Borrowers would appear to be a tenuous concept, the market has a way of sorting such issues out. I predict this show will not survive its initial airing. I do plan to check it out, however, and based on the clips released by NBC I suspect I’ll laugh. I could use it.
Regarding the role of physician organizations as watch dogs of the media: they should pick their battles. And this clearly isn’t one worth fighting.