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Reality TV are shows on television of ordinary people being filmed doing ordinary and sometimes dangerous things. These shows are made for entertainment purposes. They are supposed to be unscripted but would that really keep the attention of the viewers? Are these shows proper for our viewing or are they giving us a false take on life? Reality TV is a poor view on what our reality really is. Millions of viewers are watching these shows daily, from people eating cow’s eyeballs for money to people competing on who is prettier and even changing their appearance.
This essay will explain how Reality Television is giving us a fabricated way to live and even false hope. To begin with, Teen pregnancy TV shows should not even be aired on television. “Heavy viewers of teen mom reality programs were more likely to think that teen moms have a lot of time to themselves, can easily find child care so that they can go to work or school and can complete high school than were lighter viewers of such shows.” (Martins, Jensen 2014, p.1). These teen pregnancy shows are giving a false perception on what life is really like. The actors in the shows are paid for their appearance on the show, proper health care, they have families helping them out, providing a place to live, or babysitting. They also can finish school and hold down jobs. Not all pregnant teens have these advantages. The teenagers are seeing these televised teen moms on covers of magazines, having plastic surgery and all over the internet. They are glorifying the whole situation. Is this really how being a young pregnant girl’s life really is? The teen pregnancy shows have turned these teens into celebrities.
This is not the normal daily life of the average pregnant teenager. “While it would be inappropriate to suggest Reality TV: It Gives Us a False Perception on Life that viewing these programs is the cause of teen pregnancy, one might consider it a contributing factor.” (Martins, 2014, p.1). Secondly, these reality TV shows have a negative effect on a teenager’s body image. Most of the shows have woman or men idealizing beauty and focusing on sex appeal. The modeling shows have woman competing about who is the prettiest or hottest. The surgery tv shows like Botched, or The swan have people altering their appearance. Many viewers watch shows like The Kardashians which always altering their appearance. They wear waist trainers to make themselves thin, which can cause harm to your body. They have cosmetic procedures while filming the TV show.
Many women idealize the Kardashians, they take advantage of this and make their money. “Among girls who watch reality TV, 72% say they spend a lot of time on their appearance, versus 42% of non-viewers.” (Bush, Sapire, 2017, p.1). This has become a part of life to fit in and be accepted. Meanwhile, we have the younger generation watching these reality shows and they learn that it is accepted to bully people. These viewers watch people get bullied, harassed and so much drama involved that they have accepted this as part of life. They grow up and learn that is how to treat people. Children are not mature enough to know the difference between what’s real and not real on these shows. There is not much that is filtered on TV now, always swearing. Drama sells, and these directors edit and put the worse on to keep the attention. Children watch these shows and think it’s ok to disrespect people, they disrespect their parents. Like, Toddlers and Tiaras, the children are throwing tantrums. They kids are being raised as brats; the parents are always at war with each other because they are so into the competition and the money from Reality TV: It Gives Us a False Perception on Life the show. Children see these shows and they assume that this is the proper way to act. They see it on TV so it must be right; everyone is fighting or backstabbing.
These shows are endorsing bullying. In addition to the reasons why reality TV can have a negative effect on viewers is that it shows excessive partying and people being irresponsible. “The teens idealized the party and high-fashion lifestyle that is often featured in gossip magazines and reality TV, and subsequently robbed the homes of celebrities to fuel this lifestyle.” (Peek, 2014, P.1). Young viewers watch these shows and this is what is normal; they assume this is what reality it. A recent study from the Girl Scout Research Institute showed that regular reality TV viewers don’t just accept but also expect a lot of drama, aggression, and bullying in their everyday lives, which just goes to show that these shows are creating a new sense of what’s “normal” for teens. (Cohen, 2012, P.14). “Reality TV promotes the worst values and qualities in people–and disguises them all as entertainment. (Taylor, 2011, P.1). It is what sells, people don’t care about values anymore. These television companies and producers just want to make money, and they do whatever sells. Finally, people are just addicted to these reality shows. The audience is sucked into this entertainment. The viewers plan their lives around these shows. People enjoy watching others test their limits, sometimes compete in the most inhumane ways, and act uncivilized. They are obsessed.
They need to be at home by a certain time to catch this week’s episode of Survivor or America’s top Model. “Most teens spend about 23hrs a week watching tv. This has relationship, physical, and academic consequences. When you’re watching the tube you’re disengaged from family and friends. Every hour spent idly watching as a couch potato increases your risk of Reality TV: It Gives Us a False Perception on Life obesity by 2% and watching more than one or two hours of television daily lowers your academic achievement, particularly in reading.” (Kolich, 2011. P.16). In conclusion, Reality TV does have a negative effect on society. The audiences watch these shows, some believe it’s all reality and some know it’s not. These shows are altered and most times unrealistic. They keep us watching and coming back. We as viewers live through the eyes of other’s. We watch people do things that we may want or not want to do ourselves. Sometimes, they coerce people into doing things that are wrong or things that people wouldn’t normally do in real life. These shows are a bad influence on people of all ages. It’s all for show, it’s what sells.
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