A leading child psychologist has slammed the Nine Network for airing footage of a young girl breaking down during her audition on The Voice Kids.
Sydney youngster Romy, who was 12 when she auditioned for the reality TV show, was left visibly distressed after judges Joel and Benji Madden, Delta Goodrem and Mel B failed to select her in an episode which screened on Sunday night.
She performed Adele's Turning Tables before being crushed by the judges' verdicts.
Leading child and adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said, in airing the footage, Nine was "more interested in ratings than a child's psychological wellbeing".
"They are children. We are asking them to deal with disappointment - not on a private scale but on national television," Dr Carr-Gregg told an Eastern States newspaper.
"This kid now has to go back to her family and friends. While her family will be supportive, the fact is some of her friends won't."
NewsCorp is reporting that a Nine publicist approached them to "to pitch a story about the young contestant's embarrassment in a bid to capitalise on her anguish".
Even Nine's Today Show host Karl Stefanovic slammed the decision to air a young girl's tearful audition
"I found it difficult to watch," he said on yesterday's Today Show.
"I don't believe we needed to see that on national TV. They didn't need to play it."
Even if the girl hadn't objected to her audition being aired, Stefanovic said she was too young to understand just how widely viewed the footage would become.
"I just think there's a need for more protection," he argued.
But a Nine spokesperson said: "The decision to put this blind audition to air was made after consultation with Romy and her parents."
They added that Romy had "taken only positives" from her experience on the singing contest.
Romy's upset comes just weeks after Nine executive Adrian Swift pleaded with social media trolls to spare the young contestants from "hideous" online attacks.