How Reality TV Affects Teens


Reality programs have become a strong force that drives the behaviour of teenagers across the world. Like sponges, youngsters drink in the lifestyles and behaviours of reality TV stars; not realizing that reality TV has in fact very little to do with reality. But the glamour and bright lights of these shows have teens mesmerized and they are fully taken in by the drama. Ultimately, inevitable mimicking takes places, which begs the questions; how does reality TV affect teenagers today?

What reality TV is trying to achieve

Reality TV producers are little concerned with the impact they may be having on young lives. Their agenda is to make a program as addictive as possible, and make as much profit as they can. They create programs where hype and excitement are the driving force behind the show. They aim to include that shock factor that has become so necessary in successful programming. At the end of the day, all these producers care about is ratings. The effect this has on teens in inconsequential to them.

Morally formative years

We learn by watching the people around us and adapting to the culture we live in. But when we are younger, what we observe has even more of an impact on our behaviour. During these formative years of a teen’s life it is important to fill their minds with the things we want them to eventually mimic. Putting in poison will result in poisonous behaviour, but instilling good values such as patience, kindness and respect will ultimately beget those qualities.

Baby turtle syndrome

When turtles hatch, they have nothing but the moon to guide them to the ocean. But in cities where the streets are lit up with bright lights and bustling sounds, turtles are drawn to those elements and are often killed while trying to cross a busy road or falling into a gutter. Needless to say, teenagers will also gravitate to the bright lights of reality TV without a second thought of what the consequences might be. Parents need to take this into consideration when allowing their teens to watch certain programs.

If parents can find ways to make good values as attractive as they are, and educate their teens about the dangers of seemingly exciting programming, perhaps the teens of our society have a chance. However, this involvement seems to be predominantly absent in parenting today, as parents themselves are chasing after the same bright lights their children are. Therefore, if parents are unwilling to raise their children, reality TV producers will likely do it for them.

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