Effects Of Reality Tv On Society Essay

If a person turns their TV on in almost any country, most likely the channels will be filled with different kinds of reality shows. This is no surprise, because this kind of TV program has become amazingly popular in recent decades. Such shows are entertaining and addicting to watch, as they focus not on fictional characters, but on real people put in different contexts and situations. However, regardless of the entertainment it delivers, a question may arise: is there something more to watching reality shows than being entertained?

When evaluating reality shows, several factors should be taken in consideration. The “reality” that is usually shown on TV is not the same objective reality we live in. Every reality show has a core idea to which the behavior of its contestants is subdued—though the participants are not obliged to act one way or another, they still follow the script, and their behavior is then evaluated (by audiences, other show participants, moderators, and so on). “All TV shows, not just reality shows, help construct scenarios that demonstrate how some behaviors will be rewarded or punished. The concern is that frequent viewers of these shows will learn these behaviors, see them as desirable and then model them in the actual real world,” says Dr. Brad Gorham, chair of the Communications Department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (USA Today).

If we try to figure out what is so entertaining about reality shows, we can reach this conclusion: it is the humiliation and mocking of the contestants that makes people amused. Indeed, if we analyze such a popular show as American Idol, we will easily notice many episodes of this program are dedicated to making fun of the contestants, whose performing abilities were lower compared to other participants (which does not necessarily mean they are deprived of talent, or are worse in any other way). This can create an audience (which mostly consists of teenagers) that rate and assess people based on their qualities, such as appearance or skills; this model forms a solid basis for discriminating behavior and a lack of tolerance (eHow).

Yet another negative effect of reality shows is a distorted depiction of relationships between genders. Many reality shows address sexual themes, or depict relationships based on scandals and fights. Relationships on TV contrast real life ones: they tend to be less stable and harmonious, they are sexualized, and usually aimed at bringing more popularity to those engaged in them. Since it is difficult to control the access of underaged audiences to TV programs, children and teenagers are exposed to the risks of developing a wrong perception of relationships based on what they see on TV, which is unacceptable (RFA.edu).

Even though reality shows have become extremely popular, it does not mean they are beneficial for their audiences. Rather often, these shows display role models that are based on semi-artificial circumstances and environments. However, these models are still seen as desirable by viewers. In addition, humiliation, which makes the basis of the entertainment component in the majority of reality shows, teaches audiences to rate people based on their physical or psychological qualities, which can create a solid basis for discriminating behavior. In addition, considering sexualized and simplified depictions of romantic relationships in reality shows, one can claim these TV programs can cause perverted perceptions of relationships between different genders in the minds of teenagers, who usually make up the target audience of the majority of reality shows.


Fahner, Micki. “The Real Effects of Reality TV.” USA Today College. N.p., 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

“Negative Effects of Reality Shows.” EHow. Demand Media, 07 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

LeBoue, Sarah. “Reality Tv May Cause Deviant Sexual Behavior Among Teens.” RFA.edu. N.p., 01 Sept. 2014. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

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Reality Television

Today while watching a movie on cable, there were four to five minute breaks of commercials. Most of these commercials consisted of new reality shows. If they were not new, it was dates for when the old ones would make a comeback. Reality television has been in our lives since the 1940's.(Slocum) Although, the shows that were on years ago were much less vulgar. It seems as though reality T.V. continues to go down the wrong road. Throughout the rest of this research paper we will talk about the positive and negative effects of reality television on it's viewers and how it effects the American culture of today's society.

Although reality TV is known for the negativity, it does have some positive effects as well. There are some shows that are not all about the drama and or sex appeal. Some of these shows are Hoarders, The Biggest Loser, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Iron Chef and Cake Boss.(Nancy Borg) And these are only a few of them. Some of the previous mentioned shows are known to send a message of "never letting go of dreams" also to be as authentic to yourself as possible. (Nancy Borg) Sending that message to viewers gives all people hope to believe in their dreams. Gives viewers some sort of thrill without them actually experiencing what is happening to the reality stars. "Television and other media provide the thrill of observing danger without allowing people to suffer consequences," Frisby said. (Newswise) The previous quote tells us that the viewers of reality television are living through the stars instead of mimicking their actions. Seeing others disasters is a way for them to live through them without actually engaging in the activity. Reality televisions shows are also known to create an open-mind for some teenagers, causing them to be more vocal in social and world issues. (HubPages) These teenagers having an open-mind allows them to stand up for what they believe in. They will have more opinions on certain issues, are are more likely to voice them. There may be some hope, since not all reality shows are pointless!

Even though there are positive effects of reality television, the negative effects seem to out way the good ones. Reality stars are becoming role models to teenagers rather than their peers or parents. "TV can easily take the place of a parent, teaching kids the 'acceptable' ways of society."(Skeen) When teenagers parents are too busy for them, they more than likely will look to someone else as their role models. Usually their role models might be someone from maybe a regular TV program, but they might look at these "real" shows for their way of doing things. Reality TV shows also seem to reward people for their bad behavior. You see cops and expect people to be arrested for their bad behavior, knowing that is what is supposed to happen in real life. Then you have people like Snooki on Jersey Shore whom gets arrested and put on for more air time. Almost like it was just threw away as nothing. Another point Tom Green states in his article for the Huffington Post is that back in the day you get pregnant at 16, you get into trouble. You do not end up with your own TV show. "Compromise your morals and make a sex tape and it may get you enough attention to land a lucrative fragrance deal." (Tom Green) Giving someone a TV show or fragrance deal after their sex tape "accidentally" gets put out into the public, almost seems to lower the values of what people should strive for themselves. Reality television is also known to corrupt the mind of our youth. "A study conducted by the Girls Scout Research Institute shows that a higher percentage of girls believe that backstabbing their friends and gossiping about other people is a normal thing that girls their age should be doing, based on the actions of the actors on reality T.V. Shows." (Saga) Girls should not be mimicking those on reality T.V. Shows, they should be having pointless fights and being best friends the next day. They deserve to live innocent until old enough to know what is really going on around them. Hopefully one day someone will make a drastic change.

Finally we will talk about how reality television effects the American culture. Reality television is a reflection on our society today. There are many different ways it effects our daily lives. "Not only did we watch the show and talk theories, but we hopped on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other fans." (Striepe) In this previous quote it tells us that after watching either episodes of a reality television show or a regular T.V show, our society feels it is necessary to talk about it with people we would not normally interact with. People are addicted to all different shows, and the Internet allows everyone to talk about them with different types of fans. Allowing the shows to take over that much more of their lives. Our reality T.V. Shows make us seem ignorant to other countries. Overall, most of these programs don't give off a positive portrayal of America's society as a whole.(jackis) The previous quote is showing that when other countries see our reality television shows that are "real" they are not having positive feedback. It seems as though these shows are driving young kids too be driven by money and fame. Ten percent of British teenagers say they would abandon their chances of a good education if they could become a star on reality television. (Perritano) Although the previous statement is from a British survey, it does show that young kids believe it is OK to be put into a television show for no reason to make money. If only the networks would put on education reality shows, showing other countries we are not as ignorant as we might seem.

No doubt reality T.V will be popular for who knows how long. It does have positive effects on people as well as the negative. Viewers should be more informed that these shows are scripted too a certain point. Before we know it, everyone will be competing for a spot on T.V. We as an American culture deserve to be looked at differently.

Improvement on Essay

1. I just barely read the review on my sentence outline and I think I need to work on my thesis a bit. I was trying to get this all done in time so I am sure it could be a lot better.

2. Also I do believe I repeat certain words at time, which could probably be worked on as well. I have had a lot of run-on sentences in the past. I think I get carried away in writing that I do not make sure the sentences are well written.

3. Finally the work cited area confuses me, there are so many different options online. I think I might have fixed them enough now. But it would be nice to know for sure!

Work Cited

Becky Striepe. "10 Ways Reality TV Has Changed American Culture." Howstuffworks.
"Do Reality TV Shows Corrupt the Minds of our Youth?" The Saga.
Hope Skeen. "The Negative Effects of Reality TV on Today's Female Youth." Weebly.
Jackis. "Reality TV Portraying Myth of America." Comm 101.
John Perritano. "What is Reality T. V's Influence on Culture?" Howstuffworks.
Miaxsmiles. "A Positive Outlook on Reality T.V." Hubpages.
Nancy Borg. "The Positive Effects of Reality T.V." Movethemess.
"Reality T.V Has positive Impact on Viewers." Newswise. University of Missouri.
Tom Green. "Reality TV- Rewarding Bad Behavior." Huffington Post.


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