TV vs. babymaking

A new NBC “reality” show called The Baby Borrowers will try to persuade teens to postpone parenting.

On the show, the five teen couples live together for the first time and fast-forward through the various stages of parenthood, starting by wearing an “empathy belly,” then caring for a real live infant. After a few days, the couples move beyond babies to toddlers, preteens, young teenagers and eventually senior citizens.

A few days isn’t enough to understand the responsibilities of parents, but some think it’s too long to separate babies and toddlers from their real parents.

The show debuts on June 25.

Brazil’s primetime soap operas may be lowering the birth rate, writes Preeti Aroon in a Foreign Policy blog.

In 1960, the average Brazilian woman had 6.3 children. By 2000, the fertility rate was down to 2.3.

Telenovelas, which are wildly popular, show small families: 72 percent of female leads have no children, while 21 percent have just one.

Using census data from 1970 to 1991 and data on the entry of Rede Globo into different markets, the researchers found that women living in areas that received Globo’s broadcast signal had significantly lower fertility. . . . Additionally, people in areas with Globo’s signal were more likely to name their children after novela characters . . .

Future Pundit suggests subsidizing TV access in Africa, Afghanistan and other poor, high-fertility places. If nothing else, it will give them an alternate evening activity.

Foreign Policy also reported on a study in India that found: “Women living in villages that acquired satellite TV — whose shows tend to depict relatively liberated urban women — came to have less tolerance for spousal abuse and less bias in favor of having boys. They also became more able to spend money without a husband’s permission.”

Perhaps we need more TV shows broadcast in the West depicting traditional family values and more TV shows broadcast in the Third World depicting modern liberal values. Some day, we’ll meet in the broad upland fields between Gilmore Girls and The Waltons.

About Joanne


  1. I just read a book titled Influencer. It discusses the use of the “vicarious experience” to influence people. It makes me wonder how we in education, especially failing schools, could use the same techniques

  2. Half Canadian says:

    How about more shows that underline the value of work?

  3. SuperSub says:

    As opposed to the shows that underline the glory of drug usage? I agree wholeheartedly.

    As for the influence of TV, I’ve long thought that the first thing we should have done after we took down the Taliban and Saddam was drop TV’s all over Afghanistan and Iraq and them provide free satellite channels for 2-3 years.

    It would go far to pacify the frustration that makes someone likely to join a terrorist group and to expose these cultures to more civilized Western values that they have never seen before.

  4. Think86 says:

    The baby borrowers may not be totally accurate, but its a good step in the right direction.

  5. pmichellej says:

    I think this show sounds really good and raises a lot of questions for our society. It’s kind of controversial. Should we be promoting birth control on tv? Should we be teaching teens about having babies? And what should they do if they are preganant, is this show saying they should adopt the baby out? And what about the people who gave these teens their kids to use for the show? I’ll be watching.

  6. I really like the concept for the Baby Borrowers show- So many bratty teens need a reality check. Put on a condom, kid!

  7. I hope it wakes some teens up, but will it make them want to have abortions? I’ll be watching, though.

  8. Rob Miller says:

    I think this show will be wildly entertaining, and if it wakes up even one teen and makes them reconsider getting pregnant at a young age then it is worth being on television.

  9. Hopefully, yeah. I saw one teen on there say she wants to have kids at 18 just like her parents. No way I could have been an effective parent at 18! Cannot even imagine. My sister had kids at 17 and she has so many things she wasn’t able to do with her life, and her kids were pretty messed up aas well.

  10. pmichellej says:

    The one aspect of this show I hadn’t really thought about was the fact that there are parent loaning out thier children for this show. I guess that’s a bit scary giving your kid up to teens for awhile to have them babysit. I wonder how long they had the kid and how long they watched it?

  11. GoogleMaster says:

    IIRC, there are strict laws? regulations? — rules, anyway — restricting the number of hours that child actors can work. The limitations for babies are even stricter.

    Ah, it’s a state law. Slate ran an article that explains the law in California.

    “In California, infants under 6 months are allowed on-set for two hours a day, but their actual workday can’t exceed 20 minutes.”

  12. It was shot in Idaho, so I wonder what the state laws are there. Although, I think they didn’t pay them, so maybe the rules don’t apply.

  13. Oh, yeah! good idea to drop tvs on every poor corner of the world, so they can have a taste of the glorious civilized countries and try to become good american or european people (of course unsuccesfully).
    Let’s deculturize people and make them wish things they can’t have because the civilized people need their natural resources for better purposes, for better cars and much more fun than to reduce poverty or disease or their own wantings in their own coutries. Anyway, who turns on the tv to watch things of their own city or country when you can see others complete different from your reality?
    Poor people need no education. They need entertainment, because this make them spend money and make the riches richer. Therefore, those ignorant folks need tv to teach them to need cool things.
    The last thing poor people need is to know how much they were, since colonization, explored, enslaved, raped and fooled, and still are, by the civilized people.

    a Brazilian.

  14. SuperSub says:

    I’m assuming that your reply was meant for me, so here I go.

    Some societies don’t share our values primarily because their governments have effectively isolated them from the rest of the world. The Communists did it, and the Islamists are currently doing it.
    By values I do not mean consumerism, but instead individual liberty, good will, and acceptance towards others, all of which the West embrace. Any society that places the same value on human life as many of these Islamist nations does not deserve to exist.
    Human civilization has improved over the past 10,000 years because of advances made by dominant societies that have spread. The US should not force their culture on unwilling societies, but they sure as heck should give the opportunity to learn to those who have been cut off from the rest of the world.
    The ones who are fooling and raping (literally) these societies are their own leaders… and you can add in theft, intimidation, kidnapping, oh, and let’s not forget murder.
    Soemthing tells me that those given the opportunity to learn from Western culture will appreciate the absence of these types of violence and daily bomb explosions.


  1. […] TV vs. babymaking On the show, the five teen couples live together for the first time and … of parents, but some think it’s too long to separate babies and […]