Tips for Parents
/ Girl Scout Research Institute
Talk about the dierences between reality TV and actual reality.
This is especially true o girls who watch reality TV regularly. These girls are more likely to be comortablewith gossiping, eel that girls have to compete or a boy’s attention, and say it’s natural or girls to be cattyand competitive with one another than are girls who watch reality TV less requently. They are also lesslikely to trust other girls and to place more value on being mean and/or lying to get ahead.What girls don’t oten recognize is that much o what they consider “real” is actually scripted. In the GirlScout Leadership Journey MEdia, TV producer Melissa Freeman Fuller shares that crew members oteneed lines to participants, set up situations, and edit shots to make things seem more dramatic and inter-esting.* As an adult, you may be able to distinguish between reality and scripted TV and to take the latterwith a grain o salt, but young people are more impressionable and perhaps believing in and mimickingthese behaviors.When talking about reality TV with your daughter, ask her what she thinks is real and i she thinks any o agiven program might be scripted or “ake” and why/why not. Posing urther questions—
did you like howshe/he reacted to that situation? what would you have done? why do you think that way?
—can oer you aglimpse into how your child is processing what she’s viewing. Some additional inquiries:o Does your daughter nd hersel mimicking the negative behaviors depicted or is she totallyturned o by them?o Does she assume this is just the way the world works?o Does she know a lot o people who depict these behaviors?o What are some ways she might react dierently that could produce a better outcome?Also think about ways in which you might be inadvertently blurring the lines between reality and reality TVyoursel. Do you nd that you talk about reality show characters as though they are your real riends? Doyou do this in ront o or with your children?Because girls so oten think that what they see in reality TV programs is an accurate portrait o real lie, it isimperative that you discuss the dierences between the two. I shows don’t refect your daughter’s reality,encourage her to create media that does.*
Encourage your daughter to look beyond the mirror.
Girls who regularly view reality TV are ocused on the importance o physical appearance and more likelyto think that a girl’s value is based on this, and it’s a shame, because o course girls have so much more tooer the world than their looks. Make sure your daughter knows this. Compliment her on her talents andpraise her or her values or willingness to try new things. Encourage her to pursue interests that are notbased on improving her looks.Particularly or mothers, it is critical to be aware o what is said and done around daughters with regard toone’s own physical appearance. In a recent study, the GSRI ound a substantial link between how a mothereels about her body and how a girl eels about hers. Girls look to their mothers or advice on healthy living