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This is especially common in military or war-themed shows and literature, where the point is that adults are ultimately unable to protect the younger generation.
This version is, unfortunately, often Truth in Television.
Another more mature variant of the trope (and one that is also unfortunately Truth in Television) is that the adults are abusive and other adults around cover for the abuse or justify it and/or the abusers.
While in many settings there's someone the child could find for help, in some (small towns in The '50s, before the internet, fundamentalist religious societies) there isn't or the children don't know/can't find the actually supportive adults and/or can't identify their treatment as abuse.
The search results only included references and descriptions for the Discovery Channel show I was watching.
The first original program to run during Discovery Channel’s 2013 showing of Shark Week was an over-dramatized show looking at the possibility of the existence of Megalodon, a giant shark at one point believed to be an ancestor of the White shark.
The show starts with a dramatic video that looks to be shot by an amateur with friends on a fishing trip.
It may be a good way to teach that you can't solve all your problems by just asking the grown-ups to help.
Another seldom-used aspect of this trope sort of plays off the above.Teachers tend to be annoying sticks-in-the-mud who do nothing but spoil people's fun.