The show & CBS have come under lots of fire for breaking child-labor laws, possible child abuse, and having parents sign their life away for everything including the chance their child gets an STD during the filming of the show.
The way the show explains that their show was not a reality show, but really just a "summer camp", which is how they got around the child labor laws in New Mexico just two months before New Mexico closed the loop hole. Tom Forman, exec producer for the show told TV Week, "We were essentially running a summer camp. They're participants in a reality show. They're not 'working.' They're living, and we're taping what's going on,"
To me that is utter bull shit if I have ever heard, and trust me not only have I heard my fair share of bull shit, I have created enough bull shit my self to know when someone is giving out bull shit. There are three major differences that make this a reality show and not a summer camp.
First off, you do not get paid to attend a summer camp. Each child in the show got paid $5,000 dollars to "attend" the summer camp. Second, at summer camp you do not "work" straight from the ass crack of dawn to midnight or later. There is even an allegation that some of the children were forced to work for 24 hours straight. The third and final way that this is a reality show and not a freaking summer camp is that summer camps do not make money on children. Sure summer camps charge fees and crap, but for the most part they do not make money by exploiting children.
Also, let’s not forget that there are reports of children drinking bleach from an unlabeled soda bottle and the fact that a girl got burned badly by grease when they were cooking one of the meals. Now CBS has said that they had "on-site paramedics, a pediatrician, an animal safety expert and a child psychologist, not to mention a roster of producers assigned to monitor the kids' behavior," the network said.
My problem is who is watching the people who are supposed to be watching the children. "Kid Nation" was filmed at Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch, a privately owned town built on the ruins of Bonanza City, New Mexico, eight miles south of Santa Fe. No one at the Department of Labor nor the New Mexico Film commission were allowed access to the "Kid Nation" set or any records until filming on the show had already finished.
I must say that the whole show stinks to high hell, and not because it is a reality show. I think it stinks because the State of New Mexico was not allowed to over see the filming of Kid Nation to make sure that not only the children but also crew were being taken care of in a way that promoted safety. Hell, even "Summer Camps" in New Mexico are licensed and watched over to make sure nothing bad or wrong is going on.
It should also be noted that the children were allowed to go home at anytime during the show, but if they did, then they were forfeiting there chance at the $20,000 dollar grand prize and also forfeit the $5,000 dollars that they were to be paid for their appearance in the show.
Now, if you want to know if I will be tuning in and watching the show, the short answer is yes. The long answer is because I want to see what all the hype is about and to see if everything CBS went thru was worth it. Will I watch the show on a week to week basis; I doubt it as I really am not a big fan of the whole reality show genre and the fact that of what CBS has done here is beyond despicable. I sure as hell hope that the State of New Mexico sues CBS and the production company for Child Abuse and Child Endangerment.
Also CBS has started to accept applications for "Kid Nation 2", which the producers have admitted might be hard to shoot since a legal venue for a second season may be difficult to find since New Mexico has now fixed the loop hole in the laws that allowed the first one to happen.