There are many discussions about the effects of reality TV on society. Positive and negative effects of reality TV are two parts of a coin. Unfortunately the coin mostly falls on the negative side. Many reality TV shows are created purely for profit without thinking about its consequences on the mindsets of viewers, especially young viewers . Media companies accept that they make these shows for profit and they do not care about the effects on people.
They say that they just show us what we want.
Is it right not to care about the viewers mental health just to make more money? Most of these shows do not portray reality and this weakens the ability of critical thinking, causes to depict a ”false image of life”, develops wrong notions, erodes some ethical and moral practices. Reality TV shows give a false image of reality, since the people watching them are under the impression that everything happening in the show is real.
According to a Time magazine article, some reality TV shows are edited to be dramatic and some quotes may actually be manufactured. Clashes and ugly feuds between the reality stars may be constructed and some parts of the shows may also be completely edited and cut out so they don’t make the final show that people see on TV. Some critics actually charge that reality TV is not so real and that these shows may be far more manipulative than we think.
When all is said and done, some people on the reality shows say that they were unfairly represented and the reality taken out of the show therefore making the show pure entertainment.
In some ways, this gives the audience that the characters in these shows are real and acting normal. Some viewers empathize with the show’s stars. Viewers tend to behave, feel, think like the stars and during this process they lose their critical thinking skills. A great example can be seen in John Cheveer’s article ‘’The Enormous Radio’’.
In the article a woman has a radio that is capable of playing the neighbor’s conversations. The woman has created an apished public self, and when she hears the neighbor’s private conversations she is witnessed to the nakedness of their misery. She asks her husband ‘’We’re happy, aren’t we, darling? We are happy, aren’t we? ’’ (Cheever, pg. 83) . So she lost her ability to judge her own happiness by being witnessing other people’s life’s, just like some reality TV shows .
Certain shows are filled with glamour, filtrations, indecent acts, promiscuity, greed, jealousy, conflict and other sensitive issues. These create a controversy in the society where this society begins to support unethical and immoral practices. Humans take the negative parts of these shows causing increased rates in murder, corruption in society and antisocial behaviors. As Salman Rushdie claims, ‘’ The television set once so idealistically thought of as our window on the world , has become a dime-store mirror instead. ’ (2001, pg. 63) . Values such as being successful, smart, educated, acting polite has less value nowadays. A glaring example on mental effects ‘’ When the sister of a woman who appeared on ABC’s Extreme Makeover committed suicide in 2004, the contestant sued the network for wrongful death and other charges . The contestant, who was competing to win free plastic surgery but lost, claimed that her sister had felt so guilty about mocking her appearance on the program that she killed herself.
ABC settled the case for an undisclosed amount last year. ‘’ (W. Peters, 2010, pg. 74) . This example also shows producers of reality shows do not care about the consequences on society as long as they are making money. As Jeremy W. Peters claims ‘’In recent years producers and networks have increasingly pushed the boundaries of television voyeurism in search of another ratings hit’’ (2007, pg. 73) . Since there is not a law against producers to harming people, they do not be careful on what they show on programmes.
Therefore there are social organizations which want to make a law against reality TV or completely ban reality shows. Many programmes insult and degrade moral values. ‘‘It ? s hard to defend the deception of Joe Millionaire which set up twenty women to court construction worker Evan Marriott by telling them he was a multimillionaire’’(Poniewozik, 2003, pg. 69) . This example shows us how the show degrades women . Also on some shows great portion of the African American contestants are shown as bad.
For example the show ‘’Love Cruise’’ is where singles pair up on cruise ships and get married. The women were told to hook up with whomever they want, but every woman chose a white man. The one guy left standing was the black man. Of course we cannot claim that reality shows effect every human in a negative way . In fact there are people who claim reality TV has positive effects on the society .
Such as James Poniewozik ‘’It has given the networks water-cooler buzz again; it has reminded viewers jaded by sitcoms and dramas why TV can be exciting; and at its best, its teaching TV a new way to tell involving human stories. ’’ ( 2003, pg. 67) . Also these shows are a place where people could show their talents and get rewarded for it. On the show American Idol, a woman had two children but she did not have enough money to raise them. She had a great voice, so she won the money prize and now the family has a great life.
Unfortunately these kinds of positive effects are only a small part of the pie . By considering all of the points made above the effects of reality shows on people may not be crucial, but it is definitely taken in great importance. The ignorance of producers and effects on mental health and social talents are unjust and corruptive. Maybe strict laws could put a stop to all of it but until that time comes the community will still get effected by reality TV.
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