Youngest Reality TV 'Stars' in Danger?

What happens when kids as young as 2 grow up in the reality TV spotlight?

ByABC News
June 10, 2008, 5:56 PM

June 11, 2008 — -- The Osbournes came first, followed by the Kardashians, Snoop Dogg, Tori Spelling, Deion Sanders and now, the latest: Denise Richards.

Stars of their own reality TV shows, they have allowed cameras into their homes to document their families' daily lives. But as these shows focus on celebrity families, some are beginning to wonder what impact the spotlight has on the kids.

"I think it can become stressful, overwhelming, force them into situations that are developmentally out of synch," clinical psychologist and Emory University professor Nadine Kaslow said. "When the kids are alone, they end up bullying each other, being sexualized. Some of these kids are going to have certain stigmas for life."

"It's a huge risk," said expert Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, a spiritual life consultant and mother of three who lives in Los Angeles. "It can really trap or stereotype a child into a person they're not. Children change on a dime. They could be perceived in a way that is not authentic to how they are."

Reality shows turned their cameras on the real lives of celebrity families as a form of entertainment after "The Osbournes" -- about heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne, his wife Sharon and two of their children, Jack and Kelly -- became a massive hit for MTV in 2002.

One of the Osbourne children, Aimee, refused to participate in the show and even publicly criticized the family for their on-screen antics.

"When the kids are old enough, they do have a say and can make that decision for themselves," said Kimberly Speight Nordyke, a television writer for The Hollywood Reporter.

What about when the children are too young to speak for themselves?

"With younger children, parents are making choices for them that they are not making for themselves," Hirsch said. "I think this is parents seeking fame, not children. As a responsible parent, you don't put your children in a reality show."

Richards has been criticized for doing just that, allowing her two young daughters, ages 4 and 2, to appear on her reality TV show, "Denise Richards -- It's Complicated," which airs on E!