New Study Says Reality TV Promotes Mean Girl Behavior

New Study Says Reality TV Promotes Mean Girl Behavior

A national Girl Scout poll says tween and teens are more dramatic, aggressive and prone to bullying.

Published October 14, 2011

By now we all know the negative effects violent movies, TV shows and video games have on young men, now a new study says that certain reality TV programs can have similar ill effects on young women.


A new study by the Girl Scout Research Institute says that tween and teen girls who regularly watch reality TV accept and expect a higher amount of drama, aggression and bullying in their everyday lives. The study also showed that these same girls and young women judged their self worth mostly by their appearance.


The national study called Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV also found 86 percent of girls found reality shows that “pit girls against each other to make the shows more exciting.” While 78 percent of young women who watched reality TV felt that “gossiping is a normal part of relationship between girls” versus the 54 percent of girls who didn’t watch the programming.


Reality TV also had affected how its viewers saw romantic relationships. Seventy-four percent of its viewers said, that “girls have to compete for a guy’s attention” and 49 percent believed they were happier when they were dating someone or had a boyfriend or significant other. And finally reality TV show fans were more focused on the value of their physical appearance (72 percent) and more than a third polled (38 percent) felt that a girl’s value is solely based on how she looks.


But the report card wasn’t all bad for viewers of such shows as America’s Top Model, 15 and Pregnant or any show fromThe Real Housewives franchise — it seems reality TV does have an upside as well. Sixty-eight percent of girls polled felt reality shows “make me think I can achieve anything in life” and 62 percent polled say these shows raised their awareness of social issues and causes.


Finally regular watchers of reality TV also make up the majority of girls who view themselves more confidently, maturely, having a good influence and being smart, funny and outgoing. And compared to non-viewers of the programming more viewers also see themselves as role models for other girls (75 percent vs. 61 percent).




(Photo: Eric Gaillard / Reuters)

Written by Ronke Idowu Reeves


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