Maybe I'm getting old but there are some things I just don't find funny. People's pain and distress just don't strike me as all that hilarious. Shows featuring young men falling off mountain bikes and crushing their testicles, or practical jokes which leave people confused, upset and in tears, leave me cold.

And that's why I don't particularly like listening to yoof music stations. Generally, rock jocks get their jollies through either nudge, nudge, wink, wink sex jokes circa Benny Hill, or through humiliating or hurting other people.

A boring 40-year-old housewife from Grey Lynn is not in their target demographic, I know, and there are thousands of people who volunteer themselves for these stunts and don't care what price they pay for five minutes of fame, so I wouldn't normally complain. But when a radio station uses young kids as fodder, then I really get annoyed.

The Edge has been running a competition this week that they've dubbed "Desperate Housewives versus Crazy Frog". Three women and their respective children were locked in a small caravan in Auckland and one of them stood to win $3000 if she and her child could endure staying in the caravan for 72 hours with a video of the Crazy Frog song played non-stop at high volume for the duration. Even when they had a loo or shower break, the song was played to them through ghetto blasters or walkmen.

I'm sure the lure of $3000 would be significant to these women. And if they want to put themselves through three days of hell, that's up to them. But to drag their kids with them is pretty close to child abuse. Two of the children are seven-years-old and one is just six, so they have limited choice in the matter. According to some listeners, when the little ones looked like falling asleep, they were jolted awake with air horns.

One of the mothers - obviously the one with the highest IQ - left after less than a day, and on the second day a representative from a local church turned up and offered the remaining two $2000 each if they quit the competition. The appalled City Impact Christ congregation had donated the money. One mum did leave, but the remaining one should be ashamed of herself.

I've been a desperate housewife in the past and sure as hell could have done with three grand. I might have volunteered myself had there been a competition like that then. But I would never subject my child to that sort of punishment.

According to The Edge, there were more than 500 applicants willing to subject themselves to this form of torture. But you have to wonder whether the station manager would put his own kids through 72 hours of confinement and constant noise.

These sorts of competitions are reminiscent of the dance marathons of Depression-era America, like whose promoters The Edge needed contestants with time on their hands and who were desperate for money, and an audience willing to be entertained by other people's discomfort. The fact that The Edge found all these components is a sad commentary on our times.