Girls who regularly watch reality television, expect and accept more bullying and drama in their lives, a just-released study in the United States suggests. They also assign more value to physical appearances, and to view themselves as leaders and role models, according to the survey by the research wing of the Girl Scouts of the United States.
Some 1,141 girls aged 11 through 17 took part in the survey that offers a snapshot of the impact reality TV might be having on youngsters as they go through adolescence.
"We had no idea what we were going to find," Kimberlee Salmond, senior researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute, said. "We were kind of surprised to find such a huge difference between girls who regularly consume reality TV and those who don’t," she said. "And in general, most girls actually think that reality TV is real and unscripted television."
Seventy-eight percent of the reality TV watchers, for instance, were more likely to agree that gossiping was normal in relationships between girls, compared with 54% who did not among the rest of the girls surveyed. Sixty-eight percent thought it was in girls’ nature to be catty and competitive, compared with 50% of the non-reality viewers. Reality TV fans were also more likely to believe that girls must compete for a boy’s attention.
What the survey says about reality show watchers...
78%: girls think that gossiping is normal in relationships
68%: think it’s in girls’ nature to be catty and competitive
37%: girls think you have to lie in order to get what you want
65%: say reality TV has exposed them to new perspectives