Reality TV has become staple entertainment or young people and adults alike. In our survey o more than 1,100 girls around the country, we oundthat the most popular genres o reality TV are competition (American Idol, Project Runway, etc.) and real lie (Jersey Shore, The Hills, etc.). Many girlsthink these programs reect reality, with 75% saying that competition shows and 50% saying that real-lie shows are “mainly real and unscripted.”While many in society might view reality TV as a relatively benign phenomenon, our research shows signifcant dierences between those girls whoconsume reality TV on a regular basis and those who do not. O girls surveyed, regular reality TV viewers* dier dramatically rom their non-viewingpeers in their expectations o peer relationships, their overall sel-image, and their understanding o how the world works. Our fndings also suggestthat reality TV can unction in the lives o girls as a learning tool and as inspiration or getting involved in social causes.
Finding 1: Relationship Drama
All o the girls in our study eel that reality shows promote bad behavior. The vast majority think these shows “oten pit girls against each other tomake the shows more exciting” (86%), “make people think that fghting is a normal part o a romantic relationship” (73%), and “make people think it’sokay to treat others badly (70%).”Regular reality TV viewers accept and expect a higher level o drama, aggression, and bullying in their own lives as well. They are considerably morelikely than non-viewers to agree that: