Balloon Boy: Falcon Heene Spotlights the Price of Fame for Reality TV Kids

"Our traffic ... increased dramatically" in 2009, Peterson reports on his site. "It's not just Michael Jackson's needless death that is driving this increase, but the combined news of the children now thoughtlessly exposed on reality television without even the barest of protections, let alone fair compensation for the obvious work they are performing. History tells us that the coming years may be difficult."

Labor laws designed to protect child actors do not apply to reality shows, McCall pointed out.

"The law that applies for movies doesn't apply to kids who are in reality shows," he said. "The gist is, there are child labor laws that apply to child actors in movies and prime-time TV shows that don't apply here -- because, presumably, [the kids are] not actors."

McCall called on television networks to do more to protect children on TV.

"I really wish there were somebody sitting at the network who would say, 'What are we doing? Certainly we want people to watch our network, but are there no other avenues to take?'" he said.

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