Arts & Entertainment

Reality Television Is Destroying Societal Values

Labrina VanCliff


Keeping Up With the Kardashians on E!              Photographed by E! TV Network.

In an effort to reduce the negative influence of reality television on society, researchers are looking to eliminate the streaming of reality television shows, as they stimulate negative behaviors.

Through a variety of studies, observations, and views, researchers are campaigning for the cancellation of popular reality shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Real World, and American Idol, as the addictive phenomenon of reality television is destroying the true meaning of “reality.” These researchers believe that reality television is ruining today’s society, as reality television is addictive and influence people to engage in bad behaviors.

Views of Reality Television Watchers

Reality television viewers feel that reality television portrays a small glimpse of reality, as they are entertaining, relatable, and interactive with their prospective audiences. They believe that reality television showcases the life of luxury, providing viewers with the hope that their lives will be like those on their screens. According to Andy Dehnart of the New York Times, “The presence of cameras and producers may affect what happens, and footage must be edited to condense time and construct a narrative.”  Reality television viewers believe that these shows are edited to meet the standard air time assigned to the shows.

Editing Reality Television for Ratings


Flavors of Love on VH1.       Photographed by VH1 Network

However, a popular format of television programming that is believed to showcase the unscripted activities of everyday life, reality television gives people false outlooks on society. Reality television enhances theatrics to portray real-world behaviors, rather than scripted dialogue delivered by actors. Intentionally editing the majority of its scenes for the viewers’ pleasure, reality television does this to create excitement and drama, increasing viewer ratings. According to Michelle Crouch of Reader’s Digest, “producers alter scenes to showcase conflicts between cast members to increase show ratings.”

Reality Television Influences Negative Behavior

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Jersey Shore on MTV. Photographed by MTV Network

While believing that the majority of its content is real and unscripted, reality television also negatively impacts viewers’ behaviors and beliefs. According to Brad Gorham of Syracuse University, “reality television has an effect on the behaviors of people in society, as people are easily influenced by reality television and eventually copy the behaviors portrayed on television while using them in real life.” Philip Ross of the International Science Times also states that reality television has a detrimental impact on our perceptions of the world based on an observational study conducted at the University of Wisconsin.

During the study, 145 students from the University of Wisconsin were surveyed based on their consumption of reality television. Based on the results, the study concluded that the majority of the students who watch reality television believe that the argumentative behaviors shown on reality television shows are addictive than normal behaviors in today’s society.

The Growing American Culture 

Although the actions being shown on reality television are just an act, the American culture has deemed negative behaviors showcased on reality television shows to be acceptable behavior, as they are performed during certain situations. Americans mimic the behaviors of reality stars because they learn and react to things that surround them which influences their decisions. While setting the example that spoiled and entitled behavior is acceptable, reality television sparks superficial conversations that the average American cannot relate too.

By watching reality television the promotion of irresponsible behavior, unhealthy relationships, and degradation of family values are being inflicted on society. Growing increasingly dependent on the entertainment industry, the American culture is being influenced to perform irrational behaviors that are detrimental to society. Unfortunately, reality television is taking over airwaves, as too much time is being spent on watching them.

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