Should kids be allowed on TV talent shows?

  • 13 May 2013
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Strictly Come Dancing host Sir Bruce Forsyth has called for kids to be banned from big talent shows like Britain's Got Talent.

The 85-year-old TV star told newspapers that the programme puts children through an "ordeal", that ends in many of them crying.

"I don't think that's entertainment," he said. "I don't think they should put children on that are too young."

He's been backed by a charity that works to protect kids on TV.

Safermedia's co-chair Miranda Suit told Newsround that TV talent shows "take too many risks with children's emotional wellbeing".

"It isn't helpful to have children and adults competing together," she added, "it wouldn't happen in any other field."

The charity's calling for a ban on children under 16 taking part in TV talent shows.

Image caption Dance group Pre Skool made it through the auditions of Britain's Got Talent on Saturday

Parents' decision

One of BGT's judges, Amanda Holden, has come out in support of the show.

She told a newspaper it was up to parents to decide if their kids could cope with the pressure of performing on the show.

"We have amazing people backstage. We don't want to be pressured into having an age range," she said.

TalkBack Thames, who make BGT, sent Newsround this statement: "The welfare of all contestants is our number one priority and we have stringent procedures in place relating to children who appear in our programmes.

"Children are accompanied by a member of their family or a guardian at all times and a psychologist is on hand at all auditions.

"We also employ registered chaperones at our judges' audition days and live shows to monitor the children's welfare.

"As there are a limited number of performances Britain's Got Talent does not have an age limit."

Your comments

"I don't think it would be fair to put an age limit on Britain's Got Talent because it's a show that proves that no matter what the age, Britain has got talent! If the parent decides that they want to allow their child to take part then it's all down to them."

Ellie, Worcester, England

"I don't think that children should be banned from talent shows because it can help them be more confident, and it also proves that no matter how young you are, you can still have talent."

Faiza, England

"I think it is wrong for children to compete in big talent competitions because they've got other things to be worried about like school."

Gabriella, London, England

"I think there should be a separate show for kids where the judges aren't so harsh, because it's unfair if kids aren't allowed at all."

Molly, England

"I think that Bruce is right because if they go all the way to the final they will get more upset if they did not win."

Hannah, England

"I don't think children should enter because if they have a talent now then why can't they just wait a few years. When they're 18 they can make up their own mind then their talent will be better anyway."

Annabel, Kent, England

"I believe that Bruce is wrong because some children might have wanted to dance all their life and it is unfair that they can not compete in competitions or win anything that they can keep and remember of what they have achieved. So I think that children should be allowed to compete in talent shows because it could change their lives dramatically!"

Grace, Manchester, England

"I think kids should be allowed to go on talent shows because if they had to wait until they are grown up the shows might not be available."

Joseph, Wales

"I think kids should be allowed on talent shows as they might be talented and end up winning the competition."

Katie, North Wales

"I think that children should be allowed, so long as they want to get involved and they also know how harsh the judges will be and how hard it will be to win. I think there should be a Children Have Talent so there is less pressure on the children and they don't have to compete against adults."

Chloe, West Sussex, England

"Over 16's should have one talent show and under 16's should have a separate talent show. It's the child's parent's decision if they want to be stars in the first place. Personally I don't think children are ready for big talent shows on television because it's obvious no matter how good, the adults will always win."

Hira, Scotland

"It's wrong. The kids only get through because they are cute. In the end they are in tears as they don't understand why they are voted off. It should stop!"

Annie, Sheffield, England

"I think kids should be on talent shows because when they get older they may lose their talent!"

Milly, Glasgow, Scotland

"Well personally I think that kids under 16 should be allowed on talent shows as some children have great talent, it's not as exiting just having adults. So I wouldn't watch BGT if kids were not involved."

Jody-Leigh, England, Rugby

"I think kids should be allowed on big shows but we should have a show called KIDS GOT TALENT! Where little Ant and Dec present it."

Ellie, Staffordshire, England

"I think there should be a separate big talent show for kids, where the judges are not so harsh. It is the children's choice. Even if their dance class or whatever are all doing it as a group they should be able to decide whether or not to do it with them. It is unfair for kids competing with adults as we have not had as much experience."

Alanna, Pontypool, Wales

"I think children should be allowed to audition for talent shows because there are some very talented children and they have to learn that rejection is a part of life if they don't get through."

Natasha, Merseyside, England

"I think that kids should be on TV shows and their parents should decide if they are too young or not."

Christopher, Geneva, Switzerland

"I think kids should not be allowed on talent shows because kids get scared and start to cry when they get put under too much pressure!!"

Evie, Airth, Scotland

"I think kids under 16 should not be allowed because once I saw an eight-year-old girl crying so much because she lost."

Maya, New Jersey, USA

"I think young children shouldn't be on major talent shows because it is way too dangerous and it will just end in tears!"

Miranda, Loughborough, England

"I don't think that kids should be allowed to take part in talent shows because even though they have the ability, they're a bit young for shows where judges get a bit nasty."

Isabella, Devon, England

"Parents have responsibility over their children and if they think it is too much pressure they shouldn't enter them."

Lyndsey, Ireland

"I think Bruce's comments are unfair because the kids have chosen to do it and for some of them it's their dream so we shouldn't stand in the way of that."

Niomi, Harrogate, England

"I think it's good for kids to learn that they can't always win, but it's not a fair competition if they are up against grown-ups on national TV. If the whole country is watching then that's huge pressure on a kid. I would find it easier to compete in my own age group, not against lots of adults."

Ella-Jade, Devon, England