Meltem Özgenç - ISTANBUL
The Family and Social Policy Ministry took action for the protection of the pediatric development of child TV actors.
The ministry’s action came after a five-and-a-half year old child, Efecan Koçyiğit, who is on the edge of obesity, became famous after a TV show aired on a private channel.
Turkish social media users have been conducting a campaign against Koçyiğit’s parents for reportedly supporting their son in eating unhealthy food, highlighting that it was a form of child abuse.
Upon the public reaction, the ministry has decided to form a committee for child TV stars.
The ministry’s committee will evaluate the physical and psychological conditions of each child on the silver screen. The committee will also meet with the children’s families while they provide psychological consular support to the children.
In the scope of the new regulation, officials from the ministry have contacted Koçyiğit’s parents to urge them over the dangers of obesity.
Officials said Efecan should be checked by a doctor and stated the children on screen should receive psychological support.
Yelda Tan, a psychiatrist specializing in children and adolescents, remarked the ministry’s intervention on the issue was an apple-pie order.
“Efecan is a child with a lot of media interest, but you need to be very careful. This child may take part in one or two TV programs, but if this situation becomes permanent, personality disorders, such as narcissism, may develop in the child. Efecan may become an attention addict. I speak on behalf of all children. It is very good that the Family Ministry will be in charge of this issue and support it. The child does not know what is right or wrong. It is the family who will direct him. It is also right for the family to be informed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Efecan’s father, Şahin Koçyiğit said the health condition of his son was very well, adding they were trying to normalize their son’s weight with the support of medics at the Erzurum State Hospital.
“We consider the Family Ministry’s initiative unnecessary because we are parents who care about our children. We are trying to keep Efecan’s psychological and physical health under control. For this reason, if the ministry were interested in caring for the children who are forced into begging in the streets, then we would be even happier to support that,” he said.