The Reality of Watching Reality TV

Researchers asked 1,100 girls aged 11 to 17 about their viewing habits. On the one hand, watching reality TV was tied to increased self-esteem and the level of respect girls expected in dating relationships. On the other, it also was tied to an increased focus on appearance and a willingness to compromise values for fame.

A study led by Central Michigan University psychologist Bryan Gibson found that some people become more aggressive after watching shows portraying relationships punctuated by aggression, such as bullying and manipulation. Gibson's conclusion: These shows aren't the "harmless entertainment" people think they are.

Some series have other types of unhealthy consequences. For instance, viewers of reality TV beauty shows are more likely to seek out harmful tanning, from both tanning beds and sun exposure. Others can even influence a person's desire for cosmetic surgery.

Because kids are often most vulnerable to these effects, watch their favorite shows with them and talk about them afterward, contrasting the performers' behavior with your family's values and principles.

Stress the differences between real life and reality TV and point out that on some shows these "real people" are actually acting from scripts or directions to behave in a certain way to heighten the drama.

More information

Mott Children's Hospital of the University of Michigan has a workbook to help parents guide kids through the digital media landscape including how to create a family media plan to control exposure.


Cheaters, rEAL, reality

Many, if not most, reality TV shows are produced with humans can learn new foreign words while asleep a heavy hand that affects reality on every level, Hoffman acknowledged. We were entirely self-sufficient, Collin said. Storage Wars, but unsurprisingly, all the information they uncovered was pure, unmitigated misery. On an upcoming episode of Kocktails with Khloe, Kardashian states. John Collin explains: I can only begin with a contrast, say, with a soft-scripted show where you begin every day with, These three things are going to happen to you, and so were going to go out what to know about bipolar disorder and anger and film. Treatment for...

Number two, it allows us to find those moments of natural drama and to understand, as outsiders, what their lives actually entail without imposing it on them. You get each of your cutaways, you get your wide shot, you get your close. One crew was even stranded for three days at the end of production, and ended up playing kickball in minus 50 degree weather just to keep themselves entertained. An avalanche of footage, the three-person camera crews that spent time with each family did something atypical for reality TV: they just let their cameras run. Hester claims that all of the valuable items found inside the lockers are actually planted there by the show's producers, which would explain how the bidders could inexplicably find something like a Rembrandt stashed in a 6-by-12 unit alongside a box full. Executive producer John Jones said Animal Planet executives deserve a lot of credit for letting it happen, and really taking a risk and putting on the air, and being unconventional with things like just not having v/o.