I do think that reality TV does affect the way people think. A lot of people do not realize that reality TV is fake and those people are more likely to perceive the material on reality TV as an accurate depiction of the way people act and think. When programs like "Jersey Shore" encourage a simplistic lifestyle, the naive viewer is very likely to justify living a similar lifestyle. To put it another way, shows such as "Jersey Shore" not only elicit harmful ideologies, they also distract the viewer from being an active member of society.
*Caution: Rant Ahead*A statistic one of the interview participants stated really bothers me. "In 2011, the Girl Scout Research Institute conducted a study with - to your point - 11 to 17-year-old girls, and they found that regular reality TV viewers were far more likely than non-viewers to say quote, 'girls often have to compete for a guy's attention.' They were more likely to say that gossiping is a normal part of relationship between girls. And they were also more likely to think that bullying and drama, aggression were a part of normal relationships."In other words, statistics have even proven how bad "reality" TV is for people of all ages and sexes. I personally have a problem with shows like Honey Boo Boo. It is teaching this child that being annoying to get attention is a good thing. It's rewarding her for so much bad behavior! And if younger children are watching this show with their parents, they are probably seeing what this girl is doing and they are mocking her behavior, whether they mean to or not. It is one of the many reasons children today have no morals and so many issues (behavior-wise). So much of TV today IS trash. Or at least the ones that are getting attention. No one cares about shows with actual creativity and plots and good acting anymore. It's all about the obnoxious child shows on TLC. As Derek stated above, so many people don't realize or don't care that the majority of "reality" shows are scripted in some form. That overly-annoying woman vying for the bachelor's attention? The only reason she is still there is to cause trouble, make people hate her, and to get views for the show. (Of course, it's what makes me NOT watch these shows). In the end, I can see why people say the only things left on TB are filth. I disagree, because I can name several shows that are actually worth watching, both fiction and non-fiction. But it is shows like this one that is ruining people's lives in the long run.
While I think there is some truth in Amanda's post, saying that "it is shows like this one [Honey Boo Boo] that is ruining people's lives in the long run" may be overstating things a bit. Furthermore, basing these claims on the results of only one study may be a bit headstrong. But it certainly does raise some questions about the effects of reality television, and television in general. Personally, I'd like to see some more objective studies conducted before drawing any conclusions. But in the mean time, I'd encourage everyone to exercise their right to hit the "off" button on their remotes, and for parents to continue exercising caution when choosing the channels for their children to watch.
Reality television is something I can hardly stand. Of course, we can't put all the blame on it. Other fictional shows elicit some of the same feelings and ideas as reality television. However, reality television seems to bring strong feelings out in all of us, good or bad. My opinion is that we should wipe those shows off the map and start over. Bring some different perspective on reality, like real life ER situations or watching a ship being brought up from the depths of the ocean. We could learn more if we show the real reality, and not surreality.
I would go as far as to say that reality television has a dangerously negative affect on the minds of the American people, especially those Americans who are already under educated and under exposed to truly rich and cultivating subject matter. Reality television shows, especially the more ones that have emerged in the last few years (Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives, Honey Boo Boo, etc) have created lower standard for entertainment in the general population. The original reality shows were new and refreshing (Survivor, Fear Factor, etc) and were primarily competition based, so they were essentially harmless compared to the "a day in the life of the fat and stupid" counterparts of today.
I do think that reality television can change the way a person thinks. I've often joked that I could “feel brain cells dying” as I was forced to watch one of the countless stupid reality shows. I’m not sure that these shows really affect intelligence so much as just change what we think is appropriate. The NPR piece gave the example of a fight on ‘Basketball Wives,’ just because these are real people talking about their real lives does not mean it’s not scripted or situations are not created to insure the most drama. I think many people have the idea that reality TV shows are about reality, when they aren't. Television networks are just trying to get more viewers and it’s true that the more outrageous the show is, the more publicity it seems to get. The confrontations in reality shows like ‘Basketball Wives’ may change the way we interact with each other. They make it ok to overreact about things like a blog post and use that kind of profanity when you’re upset. Some of us might not fall for the claims that these shows are reality, but younger people especially seem to be under the impression that the ways they see people act on television are completely normal ways to act. The statistics sited by the Girls Scout Association are proof of that. The bottom line is that there is always going to be junk TV out there and maybe it is ‘hazardous,’ but the reason it is so popular is because we made it that way by giving it so much attention. If you don’t like, don’t watch it.
It can't affect me if I don't watch it.
Reality television can affect the way you think if you let it. It is not the television programs fault if you, yourself are not involved in other ways of life, such as politics, news or other worldly events. You can either choose to watch the reality program or not. I think it might be extreme to say that reality programs are "hazardous" though.
I love your title - and I think in a way reality TV can be a little emotionally hazardous. The whole basis of "reality" TV is that this stuff is suppose to be how "everyone" acts - like they are promoting "real" people. I think people (especially young kids) see this stuff on TV and want to have that lifestyle and when they can't have it they become angry or sad that their life isn't as "great" as whatever show that's on.