Reality TV

Is reality television real?

Many seem to believe so and it certainly is portrayed to be. Is that maybe a bit misleading?

Reader’s Digest has an article titled 13 Secrets Reality TV Show Producers Won’t Tell You.  The article debunks a few of the misconceptions about reality TV.

“True, there’s no script, but we have writers who craft plot lines, twisting and tweaking footage to create conflict and shape a story. Oh, and we redo things all the time.”

The article goes on to talk about other misconceptions such as how reality stars have their main expenses covered, however they aren’t paid very well.  Do-it-yourself shows aren’t filmed in the amount of time specified, professionals actually come in to do the renovations, and the budget is unrealistic.

“We’re master of manipulation.”

“We often take different clips and edit them together to sound like one conversation, sometimes drastically changing the meaning. We can even create complete sentences from scratch.”

Hmm.

According to npr.org, Bryan Gibson who is a psychologist at Central Michigan University said “This is one form of media that may appear harmless, but I think our research provides a little bit of evidence that there can be some negative outcomes as well”.

It was found in a study that people who spend time watching shows with excessive amounts of drama and relational aggression (which, let’s be honest, includes most reality TV), often tend to be that way in real life.

psmag.com had an article that did another study on women’s behaviors. The study focused on women who watch reality TV with heightened drama and aggression, shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Real Housewives.

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“Viewers of these programs believe women in the real world engage in bad behaviors (e.g., spreading rumors and verbal aggression) more often than do men,” the researchers write. “Furthermore, heavy viewers of these shows overestimate the prevalence of discord (e.g., affairs and divorces) and an emphasis on sex (e.g., sex on the first date, having multiple sex partners) in romantic relationships.”

In The Impact of Reality TV On Our Teens: What Can Parents Do? the article says that while adults may know that reality TV is not real life, children may not have this perception. It may actually be impacting their lives such as their ideas of physical beauty and sex appeal, materialism and excessive partying, aggression, lack of focus on the importance of intelligence, and lack of focus on real world success.

It’s not just here in America. This picture shows different United Kingdom reality TV shows.

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France, Nordic countries and Australia even have their own version of Jersey Shore.

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This fad, or I would call it an epidemic, has hit all over the globe.

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What draws people to these shows?

psychologytoday.com says “Reality TV allows Americans to fantasize about gaining status through automatic fame. Ordinary people can watch the shows, see people like themselves and imagine that they too could become celebrities by being on television. It does not matter as much that the contestants often are shown in an unfavorable light; the fact that millions of Americans are paying attention means that the contestants are important.”

This article focused on reality TV in America, but this could definitely be true for anywhere. Think of how many ethnic groups are represented in America alone.

So what does this tell us?

How To Teach The Reality TV Generation? talks about the effects of reality TV on students and the negative effect on their attention span. Teachers have found that they need to implement more technology in their teaching and need “broken-down lessons packed with different activities to ensure the engagement of even the brightest students.”

Has anyone ever thought about the amount of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADD and ADHD? Ever wondered if this has any correlation?

This is a problem. Something that can drastically affect your life in such a negative way really has no benefits other than entertainment. I think this is dangerous. What are we filling our minds with? What are we filling our kid’s minds with?

It’s time to do our research, time to be more educated on our world and the effects of our world. The saying “you are what you eat” can also be “you are what you consume”. I think it’s time for people to realize that.

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