As a 15 year old girl, I’m consumed with reality TV, whether it’s the Kardashians, who I love to hate, or Hoarders, which makes me worry I’ll become a compulsive packrat. As much as I hate to admit it, reality TV dramatically affects the way teens think.
My life revolves around reality TV. I find myself thinking that my family needs our own reality show, I use slang I find from these shows like “shade” and “tooch.” Which leads me to wonder: since I adopt vocabulary, attitude and ideas from these shows, does it chip away at my individuality?
I think the answer is yes: reality TV has the power to influence the way we think. As teens, we are influenced to do more outlandish things from watching people like Snooki and the contestants on Big Brother.
TLC, The Learning Channel (how ironic) alters the way I feel about myself, my family, and my perspectives, as I watch these people unravel on screen and bare all. It forces you to compare yourself to them and– in most cases– it makes you feel a bit better about yourself. At least I’m not an extreme couponer or have a strange addiction like drinking nail polish.
Although I’m forced to question how it negatively affects society, I believe it benefits us as well. It brings awareness to topics like addiction, with shows like “Intervention.” It shows how families that may seem extreme, like Honey Boo Boo’s, still share some of the same values as our own. lt can shock us and keep us away from dangers like teen pregnancy on shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant,” and ease us out of the idea of online relationships with the show “Catfish.”
Over the summer, I was watching “Dance Moms” with my mom when my older brother Jack walked in and asked, “Why watch other people live their lives when you could be out living your own?” At the time, I didn’t really comprehend what he had said because he was just making fun of me and my mom, but thinking about it now, it made an impact. Why do we sit back and watch people do crazy things when we could be participating in the same experiences–just not on film? When I say this, I don’t mean doing idiotic things, but experiencing love, drama, and adventure.
As sophomore Liam Quidore said, “My favorite reality show is The Amazing Race. It makes me want to get out and travel.” But why are we just watching these shows, when we could be out experiencing the amazing reality we already have?
I personally have come to the conclusion that reality TV is a blessing to an extent. Reality TV has brought us humor, entertainment and awareness. But if all we do is watch other people’s reality, we may miss out on living our own.