January 21, 2013
Reality Television: Good or Bad
Most teens perceive reality television programs in different views and for different reason. Teens even have different reactions to viewing these reality television programs whether it is a negative reaction or positive reaction. Parents never consciously think of how the impact on these programs or what their teen is really watching until they become involved. Some parents view these programs and think they are too influential and ban the programs from the home (the strict parent). Other parents indulge with their teen’s life and want to know what they are watching to relate and provide guidance to them. Is it possible to be either parent or both? It is easy to point the finger and believe that someone is taking your teen away with false envisions. While reality television can provide false envisions, parents should be involved in watching reality television programs with their teens because it provides them entertainment, teens will subconsciously hear their parents guidance while watching these programs, and it allows them to make a sound judgment on their own character. Why do teens really watch reality television programs? Popular reality television programs such as Bad Girls Club, American Idol, Love Games, America’s Top Model, and the list could go on, have one thing in common they provide entertainment for teens and pre-teens. These reality programs provide an entertaining way for these teens to share their views in school, and it is part of their social lives at some degree. The teens are able to connect with their friends and discuss these programs either to laugh at their ridiculous morals on the show, their likes and dislikes, or even whom they feel they relate more to. It is a form of connectedness to these teens. Connectedness is defined as the “level of intensity of the relationship(s) that a viewer develops with the characters and contextual settings of a program in the para-social television environment;” the higher the connectedness, the more involved the viewer is with the program and characters (Russell et al., 2004). ("The Appeal of Reality Television For Teen and Pre-Teen Audiences," 2011) Teens find themselves relating and having a social-life in school, on social websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and they are able to communicate via text or phone conversations. Of course the parents are not happy with some of the programs but it is nice to know what our teens are watching so that we can be in tune with how are teens are developing. With the continued popularity of reality television among young viewers, it is vital to identify pre-teen and teen audiences who not only watch a reality program but have a high level of connectedness to it. Connectedness extends beyond just viewing the program and involves further engagement—posting on social networking sites, for instance, or buying products placed on the show. ("The Appeal of Reality Television For Teen and Pre-Teen Audiences," 2011) The punch-lines of these reality television programs provide an addicting and exciting rush full of tense drama and romance that teens thrive for. As parents, we watch these programs to see how the teen is relating to these programs, possibly to see if there is potential belief in what they see. Just like typical movies there is slight distortion to what is real. Even with reality television programs there is distortion to the time things that could take months or years to accomplish happens in about a week on these reality television programs. Reality television programs are set up to gear to the audience and if it means giving the audience what they want than they go to any means necessary to keep their ratings up. Two key factors keep our interest and entertain us. One factor, we watch the tense drama or suspense week after week to gain entertainment. Watching...