Falcon Heene, aka "Balloon Boy," is a victim of his parent's desire for fame. And some experts are saying that the scars of this experience will stay with him for a long time.
The Daily News quotes a number of mental health professionals as saying that Falcon may face a "struggle" to create a life for himself outside of his family. By forcing their son to participate in this hoax, and then lie about it on national television, Richard and Mayumi Heene could be setting up the boy for a lifetime of "anxiety and depression." Others, such as DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall, say that the explosion of children on reality shows is nothing more than "exploitation."
This is something that some of us have been saying for years. There is no reason to put children on reality shows. None.
Well, there is one reason -- money.
No matter what TLC wants to say now, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" was a huge money maker for the network. And the ratings got higher when things got worse for the family. TLC only pulled the plug after papa Jon Gosselin began making noise about taking the kids off the show.
It finally took a maniacal, fame-seeking faux-scientist to pretend that his son had floated away in an aluminum UFO catcher, and then watching said kid vomit on national television, for the big thinkers to notice that perhaps children who appear on reality shows are being exploited.
As for Falcon being scarred for life by the experience, let's not jump to conclusions. Things have worked out well for a lot of child stars in the past. But the title of a recent AOL Television article, "10 Former TV Child Stars Who Aren't Crackheads," pretty much says it all.
Falcon's case may be more dramatic; he did throw up on TV. Twice.
Let's not pretend this is a new problem.
None of this lets the Heene parents off the hook. What they allegedly did was disgusting. But at least this incident will probably spare Falcon and his brothers from appearing on their own reality show. With stories like this one, we have to take our silver linings where we can.
What do you think? Is a parent who puts their children on a reality show just using them?
Christopher informed me last night that he has been promoted to Private First Class! His Sargent asked him: "How have you managed to do in 10 months what takes most 18?" He must be doing something right. At this rate, he will make Sargent by the time he returns from deployment approximately April 2011.
Yes, he will be deployed sometime in the spring for a year and possibly up to 18 months. (Even though the Army just changed deployment length from 18 to 12 months. He will be going to Afghanistan. I try not to think about it. My head will explode if I do.
For this moment, I'm so proud of him. He was so happy. I have to say, I haven't heard him say he hates the Army and can't wait to get out lately. He seems to be settled in to Army life now.
I've been able to chat with him on AIM recently - he got a laptop with a webcam. It's been wonderful to be able to see him & talk to him.
Keep it up Christopher!
Posted by Sharfa ::
9:39 AM ::