Profanity, for their recent outbreak in popularity could

Profanity, tantrums, violence,
and alcohol – these are the main components in creating a reality TV show. This
genre of television was blasted onto our screens in the 1990’s and has taken
over the world ever since. It has become so popular, even if you don’t own a
television, they are becoming extremely difficult to avoid. It all began with
the dawn of MTV, but now it is not just them, every channel seems to be jumping
on the band wagon, and the result of this could be more damaging than you
thought.

But why do reality television shows become most people’s
guilty pleasure? The reason for their recent outbreak in popularity could
potentially be the new concept of ‘audience interactivity’; we are enticed by
the idea that we, the public, may have a role in shaping the outcome of the
show. With TV shows like ‘Big Brother’ and ‘The X Factor’ that give us the
opportunity to vote people in and out of competitions, they strongly appeal to
us as it makes us normal people feel
we are part of all the action. Or could the reason for our binge watching of
‘The Real Housewives’ be something more sinister? Perhaps we immerse ourselves
in reality television as a form of escapism. Many people can become envious of
the lavish lifestyles we witness on these shows, with the likes of Kim
Kardashian flaunting her expensive new cars on Instagram, it can be understood
that people enjoy escaping from their mundane lives to this multi-million dollar
fantasy. Although this may seem like a harmless form of escapism unlike drugs
or alcohol etc. this can cause more harm than good. Sooner or later people
begin to compare their selves and
their lives to those of the reality media. This causes people to have a low
self-esteem and potentially even become depressed. Studies shows that “those
who watched reality shows are more neurotic and have lower self-esteem” If
these shows are explicitly causing people to become mentally ill, surely we
should be at least regulating our intake of reality TV or even scrapping these
shows completely as we all must return to our realities and realise that real
life is not what is presented on reality television shows.

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This begs the question, are these TV shows even real? The
definition of ‘reality’ is ‘the state of things as they actually exist, as
opposed to an idealistic or notional of them’. So it is expected that reality
TV shows should have an element of reality or ‘realness’, but in truth, many
reality shows are primarily based on an idealistic or notional version of the
real world. It is assumed that producers slightly tweak plot lines for
entertainment value, yet some shows are going above and beyond to down-right
lie to their loyal viewers. A program called ‘House Hunters’ (aired in 1990)
features homebuyers on their pursuit to find their new dream home with the help
of these famous estate agents then deciding to buy or not by the end of the
episode. However, it has been recently discovered that these ‘potential home
buyers’ had to have already bought an expensive new house to be featured on the
show in the first place. So the whole premise of the show is now questionable,
and if this show is a total sham,
then what can be said for the rest of the reality shows polluting our brains?
These reality shows main ideas aren’t real what so ever yet we still continue
to subject ourselves to these fabricated TV shows. They really must be destroying
our minds.

Can these reality shows even be making us stupid? One would
think so if we know these shows are not real, yet continue to spend hours
watching them. So, in short, yes, they are making us less intelligent. Studies
from the universities of California and San Francisco say that individuals who
watch increased amounts of reality TV were twice as likely to have poorer
verbal functions and a slower processing speed. These shows are causing a
cognitive decline, and we still continue to put ourselves through this. Do we
enjoy these shows chipping away at our neural pathways? Or are we oblivious to
the effects of our reality TV addictions? Research by Dr Markus Appel states that ‘you are what you watch’ so ideally,
watching dumb people do dumb things can make you dumb and/or do dumb things. So
if one spent their time binge watching Jersey shore, they may end up behaving
like Snooki on a night out, which is not the generally desired manner of
conducting oneself.

So not only are these reality shows shattering our
intelligence, they also have a detrimental effect on our behaviour. Much of the
humour in these TV programs are based on people going out, getting
intoxicatingly drunk and making terrible yet entertaining decisions. A lot of
these antics include a significant amount of violence, i.e. there is at least
one immature or pointless fight/argument/conflict in each episode of MTV’s
‘Geordie Shore’ over something as silly as fighting over a boy or even chicken
nuggets. What kind of example is this setting for our society? How much more do
we have to endure before we lose all ability to have a respectful disagreement
with someone? I know that just because we see Charlotte Crosby go out, get
drunk and get angry so she drags her ‘friend’ along the floor by the hair
doesn’t mean we automatically go and do the same but if you have recently felt
the need to assault a close friend or family member, we may have found the
reason why.

Think about the children. There are so many young children
exposed to this kind of TV nowadays, with shows like “Toddlers in Tiara’s”
setting a terrible example to our younger generation. Children are said to be
the future, but if this unrealistic reality continues to take over the world
and influence these children who have so much potential to become intelligent
beings, then the future does not look bright at all. Studies suggest that an
increased amount of reality television viewing can negatively affect academic
performances. Children who studied for exams yet still watched reality shows received
lower scores than those who did not watch reality TV. Evidently these shows should be at least adjusted so that they
don’t have such a damaging effect on children as they are affecting something
as important as exam results. Then there is also the aspect of children looking
up to these reality stars as role models. Reports found that many young girls,
who spend time watching reality TV, measure their worth on their physical
appearance. But in reality, if you’ll
pardon the pun, we can’t all be Kylie Jenner.

In conclusion, reality television should be
demolished.  There is no question about
it. It is negatively affecting almost everyone in society, from lowering
self-esteem to making kids fail their exams; it is benefitting nobody but the
pay-checks being received from the likes of the cast of “The only way is
Essex”. Even if you don’t agree with getting rid of all these toxic reality
shows, surely you recognise the gradual inevitable harm they are causing to our
society and the minds of our children. We must ask ourselves who is to blame,
is it the lying producers? Or is it us, the naïve yet addicted audience?
Regardless, these reality TV shows must be stopped, before it’s too late.