Child Genius has been slammed as “child abuse” by viewers, as several of the young contestants were left in tears and a psychologist had to step in.
The Channel 4 show, hosted by Richard Osman, puts brainy youngsters to the test with a series of difficult mental challenges.
But under tremendous pressure to prove their intellect, many of the young contestants have found things difficult and broken down in tears.
And it has made some viewers very uncomfortable, with many claiming it is a form of child abuse and blaming the kids’ “pushy parents”.
Last night’s episode saw no fewer than four children break down when they didn’t perform as well as they’d hoped.
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The children had to remember two packs of 52 cards in the order in which they had been given them,
Joshua, 11, had set himself a goal of getting at least 80 in a row. But when it came to crunch time, he failed at the tenth card.
He had been one of the favourites, but as he was kicked out of the competition he ran out of the room in tears.
“I forgot everything as soon as I got up there,” he said.
“I got two points, which is awful. I feel terrible, like a big disappointment.”
Francheska, 12, also broke down after her sister beat her in a round by one point and she too was eliminated from the game.
And nine-year-old Fabio was left sobbing after scoring just one point in the science round.
He had to be comforted by his dad, who told him: “Don’t worry, seriously. It’s tough Fab.”
The youngster did eventually make it through, but was clearly feeling the pressure before the memory round.
He broke down again and needed extra reassurance from the show’s psychologist.
All the emotion and high pressure was too much for many of the show’s viewers, who labelled it “cruel”.
“Kids should not be crying over an f-ing memory game!!! They should be out having fun. This is a form of child abuse,” said one.
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“Five minutes of Child Genius was enough. Watching children upset and in tears is not my scene,” added another.
Many more agreed, raging: “This is so cruel, almost child abuse. Stop pushy parents now pls,” and “The number of children crying in Child Genius today just makes you wonder if this is just another form of Child Abuse!”