To be honest, I really think it all depends on the student, the type of guidance they have had and continue to have growing up and their beliefs. For some, watching a television program of The Hills may create a false perception of reality as everyone is beautiful and edgy and the lifestyle is glamorous, but to others, it may open up doors to another reality beyond what they have at their dining room table. Real or fictional activities that “take place” in the media have the ability to create a sense possibility, albeit it may be a false one.
In addition to what has been stated above, the ability to think critically is vital. The media could potentially sway students to seeing a false reality over a sense of possibility, as media of all types is attention grabbing - it isn’t meant to be boring. Headlines, billboards, breaking news flashes, radio advertisements and television is all meant to inform, enlighten or entertain us in some way. If we fail to question the purpose of the piece and intentions of the author, yes there is a great danger of the media falsifying expectations of life because students are just accepting what they see at face value. However, if students are not thinking critically on a regular basis, I would argue the entire world they are immersed in could limit their possibilities and could create unreal expectations of their life and the lives of others.
So, in conclusion, I truly believe it depends on the individual because there is a huge grey area when it comes to the media: it is all about balance, critical thinking and the individual.