Does Reality Television Promote Bullying?

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of reality television.

I don’t mind the odd singing or dancing competition where some actual talent is involved.

I have watched some of the weight loss and cooking shows which is certainly an interesting combo. You’d need to think about losing weight if you ate even a portion of the delicious looking but fat, salt and sugar laden dishes the cooking shows serve up.

As for the rest of reality television, it seems no matter what the setting – a beautiful island paradise, a house rigged with cameras or a gorgeous mansion somewhere – the premise is all the same.

Stick people in a confined space and/or stressful situation, offer a big fat wad of money to the person left standing at the end and watch them turn on each other.

I know a lot of people won’t agree but it seems like a nasty rat experiment to me.

Part of reality television seems to be about ganging up on people. Insults and name calling are used to intimidate and humiliate people. Throw lying and manipulation into the mix and ratings go through the roof.

Being nice to someone’s face then stabbing them in the back the minute their back is turned seems to be the norm. For that matter, being bitchy directly to someone’s face is even more popular.

Some reality programs create the illusion of promoting teamwork, only to then make team members turn on each other. That’s when the claws come out – all in the name of entertainment.

When name calling and intimidation happen to our children in the school yard – do we find it quite so entertaining?

Watching television, we cheer for our favorites. We might even cheer for the person who doesn’t seem to be ‘playing the game’ though most  have to play the game to win the game in the end.  They design it that way after all.

Through the power of editing, programs can create a villain in record time leading viewers to then start our own brand of name calling and nastiness, despite the fact that we dislike certain contestants because they are doing the exact same thing?

I can’t help but wonder are reality television shows teaching our children (not to mention us) that screaming, name calling, and tantrum throwing are all acceptable forms of communication?

Are reality television shows promoting that bullying other people is okay?

It’s not just the bullying part of reality television that I don’t like, it’s how incredibly fake it all seems. The crocodile tears, the fake concern for each other and how people declare they have met their one true love after knowing them for all of 5 minutes (during which time they have been competing with a group of other people for scraps of time and attention).

My favorite part (okay I’m being sarcastic) is when they complain about how hard getting rid of people is. I don’t really understand this bit especially when the show is on its 2nd – 8th time around. Contestants have watched the show before, they know the drill. They know they will personally have to ditch (I think the official word is eliminate) someone every week when they sign up.

Thinking about the prize money or whoever the prize is (which I think is even more disturbing) they happily agree to the program’s conditions,  only to then make out like it’s all being forced on them and they have no choice.

Cue more tears.

Here’s a thought, don’t go on the show in the first place.

Between watching psychopaths on killing sprees on a regular basis and people being horrible to one other on reality programs, television can be a downright scary place and that’s not even factoring in watching the news!

What are your thoughts on reality television?

Do you think reality television promotes bullying and bad behavior or do you think it’s all a bit of harmless fun?

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