Social Question

DrC's avatar

Do you think that "reality" tv shows promote aggression and violence?

Asked by DrC (945points) February 7th, 2010

It seems that certain shows (like Bad Girls Club for example) thrive off of conflict, fighting, belligerence, and arrogance. It also seems that alcohol is widely consumed and indirectly promoted. Do you think that these shows “teach” people bad behavior – either because of idealization or desensitization, or any other reason?

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19 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, but they’re an interesting reflection on what people want to see and why. There has to be conflict, why else would people who need instant gratification watch them? In some ways, there are many people like that out there, they find a mirror for themselves.

marinelife's avatar

I think that they desensitize us to those things, which contributes to their prevalence.

The_Idler's avatar

Children, yes.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@The_Idler children shouldn’t even watch garbage like that.

bhec10's avatar

Viva La Bam, Jackass and Nitro Circus definitely promote it.

(Nitro Circus: not that much violence and aggression but crazy stunts, yes)

john65pennington's avatar

YES. reality shows are just like infomercials, except each has a different message or meaning. infomercials gives information concerning a certain product and why you should purchase it. reality shows are sometimes too informative and suggestive. by this, i mean watching a video of a robber committing a crime and making a mistake and arrested, is like telling the world, “watch this man and see the mistakes he made in this robbery. yes, he was the most dumbest in the world, so you pay attention and do not make the same mistakes he did”. reality shows do not actually say this, but their format is very suggestive on how “not to get caught”. this may not have been the intention of the producers of reality shows in the beginning, but this is the way it appears to me today. compare the internet to reality shows. the internets original idea was to be a tool to inform you and i. instead, today the internet is loaded with porn and hackers.

phoebusg's avatar

I’d like to say no but I think it’s likely that everyone is affected. Even the adult individual that has fully de-briefed him/herself about the show, actions therein etc.
There is a thing called, monkey-see, monkey-do. We are vulnerable to wanting to
experience things others are seen to – to some degree.
We have what is called “mirror neurons”, when you see someone performing an action,
any action – they fire as if you were doing the action yourself. Then there’s the socially engineering of our brains, we rely on others for information and make some sort of normative assumptions. If all you saw was shows like that, it would certainly affect your norms even if you were not fully aware.

Not even going to mention children, especially before 12 – they are recording/playback “machines” – don’t let them anywhere near these shows.

Bottom line, if you want to watch it a couple of times for the hell of it, go ahead. But I would say there are so many better shows, documentaries, talk shows, movies—books.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

For me they promote boredom.
People need to take responsibility for their own actions and feelings.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Yes. By being so damn boring and annoying.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I think reality television shows promote stupidity (some of them) but then again, I’m a cynic when it comes to this type of programming but I just call them like I see them.

The_Idler's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir nobody should even watch garbage like that.

DrC's avatar

And in a way…their bad behavior brings them more recognition, perceived fame, money, etc. in the form of future tv shows and promos. The problem is that LOTS of people are watching them (look at Jersey Shore for goodness sake and the publicity it’s gotten!). It can only be ratings that keep tv producers creating similar shows for more revenue.

Cruiser's avatar

It’s pure voyeuristic escapism. Most people would have no intention of ever engaging in these activities unless you got them really drunk but these shows allows one to live vicariously for that moment through the nuttiness on the TV any night of the week.

DrC's avatar

@Cruiser…it’s supposed to be that, but do kids (including adolescents) see it that way, or do they unintentionally absorb what they see and mimic them later?

Trillian's avatar

Reality television is a mirror held up to give us a reflection of our society. I believe the picture it shows isn’t pretty. The worst of our behaviours and drives are what sells the most. I think that “teach” may be the wrong word, as we certainly don’t need tv to teach us to behave badly, but it seems to me that poor behaviour is more acceptable, or more tolerated. What would have caused one to step back in stunned amazement twenty years ago is now barely regarded. Police, cashiers, clerks, waiters and waitresses are all subjected to ridiculous tirades complete with profanity and spittle. Even judges in courtrooms can expect ridiculous outbursts and even physical attacks. Should one object to this behaviour, there are sure to be those who will insist that this is freedom of expression. (I’m waiting for someone to challenge me for a source)
Reality shows are set up for negative conflict because for some reason, the majority of the population find this to be entertaining. I can’t bear to watch any of it except for Worlds Dumbest. The commentary from a couple of the “celebs” is funny to me. And I am constantly amazed at the depths of the well of human stupidity, which apparently has yet to be plumbed.
I think that desensitization is a pretty good choice of words, and the more so we become, the more ridiculous will be the behaviour.
And once again, I draw the parallel between ourselves and another civilization that has breathed its last. Panni et circum.

tinyfaery's avatar

Watching Top Chef has definitely made me more violent.~

Cruiser's avatar

@DrC Tough call there! The cartoons and comic books I grew up with were pretty rude, crude, violent and racist….not exactly tame even by today’s standards!

DrC's avatar

@Cruiser That’s true. But cartoons are different in the sense that you don’t identify with them as much. For example, I never really wanted to catch a roadrunner and have it for dinner, so I was never concerned that I might resort to dropping anvils, etc. But these reality shows seem to glorify public recognition, hooking up, and having a good time, which is what most people would say they want, so they might find their behaviors as more realistically applicable to their lives. I don’t know….just speculating. What do you think?

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