UP TV has come under fire for airing a television program and putting low-income children in the difficult situation of choosing to help themselves or their parents for the sake of entertainment. Thetelevision show has claimed the program to be “morally uplifting” as the children are morally judged on the program.
The low-income kids are given a gift for their parents and for themselves; but able to only keep one. The gift is a test to see how the child will morally behave, and is similar to another program The Briefcase, where the child is presented with a dream gift each for the parents and themselves, but only permitted to choose one.
The television programs have demonstrated that low-income children are more inclined to take home the gift for the parent, but ultimately, placing the child in a difficult predicament for the sake of television ratings and viewer’s amusement. It was later revealed that both gifts could be taken home, but at the time the child was unaware.
According to UP TV, the small network has claimed its mission all along was to “always uplift you.”
But the engineering of the program has come under scrutiny, raising questions why the producers choose only low socio economic classes rather than a mix of wealthy kids as well. Would a test of generosity of the wealthy be more revealing?
Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans, (PDF)
Poorer people are likely to be more generous with their possessions and money than wealthy people. The media cling onto “feel-good” stories of the poor rising to the task, feeding viewers that low income people who work hard tend to rise higher than those who don’t.
It seems that the poorer classes are being scrutinized under the microscope more often, having to prove their ‘worth’ for public assistance, benefits, and now our sympathy. Judging our children on television for the sake of entertainment provides a base for larger socio-economic divisions, and is not a measure of good entertainment.