Is reality TV making or breaking us? (There are positive things to learn!)

People love to categorise reality TV as evidence of decay in Western society, but that is what the real world is about. Just because we seem to be more backward doesn’t mean these things actually never happen.
Patrick Buchana
Patrick Buchana

People love to categorise reality TV as evidence of decay in Western society, but that is what the real world is about. Just because we seem to be more backward doesn’t mean these things actually never happen.

Contrary to popular belief, reality TV serves a variety of useful and important functions and I, for one, am a better person because of it.

While many people think that reality TV is nothing more than a series of freak shows, some serve the greater good. A good deal of what is on TV can be very useful to a viewer. Although it’s really up to you to pick what you think is good for you. If you make the right choice then reality TV is a positive influence to your life.

“Extreme Makeover” was once criticised for making plastic surgery seem risk-free. In fact, there was a spike in people seeking plastic surgery every time the show aired. By the time the show ended, however, it depicted the reality of these surgical procedures.

Well yes, reality shows are mainly produced as entertainment; but many convey important information about diet, weight loss, health and fitness. For example, MTV’s reality show “16 and Pregnant’ has been of great help to many teens in the USA.

In 2009, the teenage pregnancy rate in the United States dropped to its lowest levels in 70 years. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a survey in 2010, in which 87 percent of teens who had watched MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” felt the show educated them about becoming a parent at such a young age. Only 17 percent felt the show glamourised teen pregnancy.

Although they may be a little mature for children, they do teach some details on how to behave around your wife, fiancé and even relatives.

Dr. Rocio Rivadeneyra, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University, agrees that reality shows are important to pay attention to because of their behavioural influences.

“Preteens and teens watch these shows and believe this is how they are supposed to behave,” Rivadeneyra says. “By watching The Bachelor, we understand that if you want to treat a woman right you have to give her a rose.”

Well although some reality TV shows just have a bunch of ladies running up and down and acting up, we can sign off all the rest as rubbish.

There is a lot to learn from reality TV all over the world.

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