What Is the Effect of Reality Shows on Teenagers?

By Leah Shiota

Since its rising popularity, reality television has changed the way entertainment is viewed in the United States. Modern teenagers who have been exposed to this genre for many years are often influenced to express themselves in various ways.

History

Reality TV became popular after 2000 with hit shows such as MTV's

Reality television consists of unscripted situations offering a closer glimpse at the life of ordinary people. Many of these shows are geared toward teens because they typically watch more television than the average adult and therefore can be more susceptible to its various influences.

Benefits

Webcams give many teens the ability to create their own reality shows.

Reality television can give insight to teens about many types of people in a way that a standard fictional narrative would not. Additionally, the exposure of the format can influence teens to experiment with the genre on their own by tracking their lives through media such as a web series or video log (vlog). This can often serve as a healthy creative outlet that promotes useful technological skills.

Risks

Many reality shows have graphic content not suitable for children.

Some argue that reality television has promoted a societal desire to be voyeuristic and devalue privacy. Many parents of teens also have expressed concerns that due to its nature, some reality shows can promote behavior in teens that is considered trashy, rude and sexually promiscuous.

Role of Technology

Everyone now has a shot at their 15 minutes of fame.

With the help of popular websites such as YouTube, ordinary teens are now able to upload videos similar to the those of the reality show format and build a large audience base. Modern teenagers are aware of this and are constantly attempting to become the new viral-video sensation.

Warning

There have been many reported crimes against those who have their own web series or vlogs. It is important to monitor a teenager's Internet activity to make sure that private information or content is not easily obtainable.

About the Author

Leah Shiota has been a writer for over five years. She has written articles for LIVESTRONG.COM and "Theme Magazine" covering cars, electronic gadgets and personal health. Leah holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Butler University.