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Vietnamese TV lacks child-friendly content

Vietnamese TV lacks child-friendly content

Friday, July 26, 2019, 14:10 GMT+7
Vietnamese TV lacks child-friendly content
A screenshot captured from the first episode of Kiddie Shark

With Vietnamese children out of school on summer break, television producers across Vietnam are racing to put age-appropriate content on the small screen. 

But with kiddie versions of well-known adult programs as the main product being churned out by entertainment companies, Vietnamese parents are worried that current TV trends are completely out of touch with the concept of age-appropriate programming.

Children's versions of popular shows

Kiddie Shark, a children’s version of the popular reality series Shark Tank Vietnam, debuted on national channel VTV3 on July 20.

Each episode of the show features aspiring child ‘entrepreneurs’ presenting business ideas in an effort to earn an investment offer from a panel of 'sharks.'

While the ‘sharks’ in the original show are successful investors and business moguls, the roles are played by famous Vietnamese entertainers in Kiddie Shark.

The show claims its goal to help children “discover, nurture start-up dreams, set up life goals, and encourage self-confidence and contribution to the public and society.”

Parents, however, are not buying it.

Mai Lan, whose seven-year-old daughter hopes to appear on Kiddie Shark, was shocked when she discovered the extensive list of difficult questions on the show’s application.

Of course, asking young candidates to describe what stories or events have inspired them are to be expected, but requiring a young child to explain 'How will you manage your finances?' and 'How do you plan to balance your schoolwork and start-up?' seems a lofty bar.

“How can a seven-year-old kid who still does not even know what ‘finances’ are answer these questions?” Lan told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Thu Tai Sieu Nhi, a TV music competition where child entrants show off their singing talents in a format similar to other popular TV music contests for adults, also shared in criticism from parents, this time for the content of the show itself.

In one episode, parents flung heavy criticism at the program after two candidates performed songs with lyrics describing romantic love and nostalgia, which they say should be reserved for an older audience.

Tough problems

TV producers have acknowledged that they had knowingly produced inappropriate content targeted at children, but claim they have had no choice as there seems to be a dearth of truly kid-friendly content being pitched in the industry.

Producing TV shows for children is not an easy job, according to Kim Anh, producer and director of a music show for kids aged three to six on national channel VTV7.

“It requires a lot of effort and research to produce meaningful and appropriate content for children,” Anh told Tuoi Tre.

As for movies, the lack of appropriate films for children is so serious that Vietnamese kids today are still watching Journey to the West, a 1986 Chinese flick that has been broadcast on Vietnamese TV every summer since the early 1990s.

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