It’s not right, it’s out­ra­geous – and it’s im­pos­si­ble to look away. Thi­nus Fer­reira tells us about a batch of new re­al­ity shows fea­tur­ing chil­dren

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Your jaw will drop. You’ll get a creepy feel­ing. You don’t want to watch it – you shouldn’t – but be­fore you know it, you’re hooked. The new crop of crazy telly, fea­tur­ing a cotil­lion of con­tes­tants will­ing to do cra­zier and cra­zier things is mak­ing what came be­fore it seem quaint by com­par­i­son.

What started with Tod­dlers & Tiaras (TLC Entertainment) – lit­tle mup­pets dressed up for beauty pageants and fed Sprite laced with Red Bull by their moms to keep them awake and perky for the stage – led to the spin-off Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (also on TLC).

Tod­dlers & Tiaras of­fered us the mother who dressed her three-year-old as a “Pretty Woman prostitute” from the Ju­lia Roberts film. You might have seen them re­cently mak­ing a reap­pear­ance on E! Entertainment’s The Drama Queen, a re­al­ity show where the pageant mum is now shop­ping her cutie to Hol­ly­wood agents. Bless.

That was noth­ing com­pared with M-Net’s new­est tod­dler of­fer­ing, Bet on Your Baby.

In this new US game show, par­ents lit­er­ally take bets on their pre­co­cious kids.

Af­ter all, what good par­ent would pass up an op­por­tu­nity to use their child as a money-spin­ner?

While the lit­tle things might not fully know or re­alise what they’re do­ing, the grown-ups in Bet on Your Baby place bets on what they think their lit­tle ones will do, how they might pos­si­bly re­act, be­have or com­plete tasks, or how quickly.

Don’t say Bet on Your Baby is evil and ex­ploita­tive. Please. The tots, who are be­tween two and three years old, win money for their fu­ture ed­u­ca­tion.

You’re never too young to learn – or to com­pete on tele­vi­sion.

Just ask Abby Lee Miller, whose show Dance Moms (Life­time) is filled with ed­u­ca­tional life lessons that teach kids their real place in the world.

Miller stacks the chil­dren in her class into a hu­man pyra­mid. Be­cause life re­ally is noth­ing but a food chain and the bet­ter you are, the higher the spot you get on the pyra­mid of life.

The lit­tle girls at­tend­ing the Abby Lee Dance Com­pany are mo­ti­vated be­cause the bet­ter you are, the more you get to step on other peo­ple in­stead of get­ting stepped on.

In Pitts­burgh, Dance Moms fol­lows tal­ented lit­tle ones and their de­ter­mined mums who will stop at noth­ing to reach the top. What’s a few tears and moth­ers scream­ing at each other in front of their chil­dren if you have a dream and a goal? If you’ve ever pushed some­one off a div­ing board, you know how much fun that can be. There’s a lot of fun to be had with the new re­al­ity com­pe­ti­tion show Celebrity Splash! which is yet to be shown here.

In this show, speedo-clad celebri­ties dive for our view­ing plea­sure. They lose cloth­ing, in­juries abound and you see it all close-up on the spring­board. As chal­lenge tele­vi­sion of­fers up the build­ing of hu­man pyra­mids and cat­a­strophic high dives, you can bet there will al­ways be new lows for pro­duc­ers to explore in the quest for higher rat­ings. Bet on Your Baby is on week­days on M-Net at 6.30pm. Dance Moms is on Tues­days on Life­time

at 7.10pm

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