Reality TV In Our Lives
It’s hard to watch TV without running into a reality TV show. They are taking over. Depending on what side of the statistics you are on, this could be a good thing. There are a lot of opinions on what these shows are doing to us as a society.
Why We Watch
It’s a safe bet that everyone has a least one reality TV show that they enjoy, and probably many more. Statista asked almost 6000 people ranging in age from eighteen to over fifty-five, why they watch. The top response from every age group was that they enjoy the drama. We don’t have enough drama in our lives, so we need to live vicariously through the TV. The next top two reasons were that it is mindless and is good background noise. Watching reality TV doesn’t take a lot of thought. It is easy to figure out. At the bottom is that it can help us forget our issues. Watching someone’s else life fall apart can make us feel good about our own. Not many thought that they watched because they were invested.
Those chosen to participate in many of the shows all fit a specific mold. Those at home watching that do not meet the same pattern can start to look down on themselves. Guardian.com took a survey to see how viewers truly felt about themselves after watching reality TV shows. Out of those in the eighteen to twenty-four age range, 24% think that reality TV makes them worry about their body image. And 15% even went so far as to self-harm because of their concerns over their body image. Hopefully, those casting can begin to try and diversify the people participating in their shows.
Reality TV is one of the model’s young girls are seeing on how they should interact with their peers. The Girl Scout Research Institute did a study to see how girls who watch felt compared to those that do not. The women on these shows don’t always treat each other kindly. Gossiping is a massive part of reality TV. 78% of girls that watched felt that it is a normal part of a relationship. From those that don’t watch, only 54% felt the same. What we see in reality shows is not the way we want young girls to relate to each other.
Many reality TV shows revolve around finding a significant other. The Girl Scout Research Institute found that these shows effected how girls felt about finding a partner. Of the girls that watch, 74% think that they need to compete to get the attention of the boy they like. Not only do they feel it is a competition. But 49% believe that it is a way to make them happier. This may not be the message we want young girls to be picking up.
Reality TV is here to stay, but they are not a true representation of the real world.