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Reality TV is becoming pervasive with the dawn of very day of our life. We are living in a universal world where information is very important. The world of technology has offered the whole world to our immediacy right at the bottom of our feet through a simple button click. Every person universally is now encircled by virtual environments and reality TV. The question nevertheless remains whether what we are experiencing and relating with has brought us to a point where all sense of reality is lost and distorted. We are living in amidst modern humanity where we are enclosed by the media showing an air brushed woman creature, good looking men, ideal families and such like things. In fact, there is too much on our faces (Murray and Laurie, pp. 12-27). People are now beginning to visualize and assume that it is the way we are supposed to be and act; a manner in which we please. This essay seeks to argue that the Reality TV has propagated negative effects as the message in it is vague and all reality sense and value is completely lost.
Reality TV is a moderately emerging development that took the world of television by storm. The viewers in their own comfort apparently are not getting tired of the embarrassment, temptation, and torture and most important of all the drama each day where people are being presented with ideal settings and a pure manipulation for them to watch. Even though reality TV is a new trend somehow, it has exhibited huge growth and it looks like a more contemptible reality show is in the making or is being aired the next day. The society is weighed down with pictures of horror and gruesome stories containing violence each and every day (Godard, pp. 23-24). This is all that is in most TV programs.
The issues in here are serious matters that have affected the very fabric of our society that firmly holds our values. We have slowly changed into a world of fantasy and living as though we never existed. The values and norms integrated in reality TV leave a lot to be desired. There are fears that the society beliefs and values are going to be eroded and the very path of leading real lives be left out through this muddle. Reality TV shows are expected to show a real world and authentic events which can occur in reality and what people are in a position to do. But can people in reality have the brain of an ostrich as their food? Or cheat on their spouse when we watch shows like TemptationIsland? TV is a tool that influences the lives of human beings in various ways. Every individual at a particular stage have identified themselves with an actor on the TV either feeling sorry or in an angry position. When looking at the various groups of age watching the reality TV shows, we realize a wide arrangement from the middle to children in high school reaching even to the adults.
All ages and especially teenagers and children are the group that can get a lot of influence since many of them are in the process of finding out their personality. Many of these shows mainly referred to as ‘reality shows’, host sexy individuals who are ever having good times while drinking, smoking and even having sex. The reality TV shows are simply saying that to have fun, you should smoke and drink because in essence, that is what is contained in them (Hill, pp. 11-23). This is what many Reality TV shows seem to incorporate as the main content. Having this in our minds, we have to wonder the reason children are drinking, abusing drugs and why the many pregnancies amongst them. This connects to disinhibition theory where people learn a thing but the TV alters our learned social sanctions to something different. We always see drinking, sex and smoking on Reality TV and consider them to be good. Nobody feels like it’s anything little don’t we know that the societal values that we were raised with are fading away.
Reality TV has therefore become so common since they offer an escape from the reality and the experiences in daily life situations. The shows carry away our imaginations and what we are supposed to premeditate upon in our life. The shows really drive us away and we can ultimately come back with a button click. And this is deemed reality. This is the worst irony of all times. Owing to the things presented in the Reality TV, print media together with broadcast have become sensationalized. The viewers in our modern society want to see conflict, shock and drama. This ever-lasting key to effective show works but it is becoming uncontrollable. These TV series in modern world set up are outrageous and a reflection of our contemporary society since we get hold of anything. Reality TV shows do not only reflect on the society in a negative manner but also the elements forming part of the mass media.
As much as people would want to suggest otherwise, reality shows are never real as people take them to be. The Reality TV shows are edited to the manner the producer desires and shaping everything depending on the anticipation of the viewer. It is a mastery of psychology put together in a way that meets the anticipation in the mind of the viewer not to present anything new in reality but just to satisfy a need which was aroused by that which does not exist. It is a way of steeling away from the realities of life. Many people think by watching the Reality TV shows, they will be in a position to deal with the issues in their lives (Jenkins, pp. 27-44). That is and will never be true. It is amazing how people will find themselves in need of watching the same similar programs even after watching them over and over again. The reason is because there are no real values presented in the shows. They are just fantasies that do not amount to anything in the life of the viewer.
The cultivating nature of Reality TV shows give a suggestion that the connection between normal viewing of the television and the perception of reality as possessed by the viewer would be greatly changed by the viewing of the TV if the programming continuously inferred that the conditions and individuals being viewed were in reality authentic. The hard truth that will be bitter to many is that sensation sells a lot. The beauty and aesthetic value of the Reality TV show is that it leaves those watching the show feel part and parcel of the encounter, something that the comedy with intelligence cannot offer. Reality TV show takes advantage whereas drama was in a groove and is now in a position to sustain its position by way of capturing the audience comprising the young people.
A number of the concepts of reality are completely ridiculous although they get individuals to settle down and pay great attention. People want to come up with programs which would capture the minds of people just to earn money. This is what we can call agenda setting theory practices. Agenda setting is the formation of a public awareness together with concern over salient matters through the mass media. Two elementary assumptions underlying many agenda setting scenarios include: the media and the press who do not show reality but instead filter information and shape it to conform to a particular preconceived idea and; the concentration of media on some few matters and subjects which automatically makes the public look at them as important subjects.
The media gatekeepers entirely decide on the things we deliberate upon and discuss in our daily lives. This is as a result of the huge publicity a particular topic is given by the media. The attention the media gives to something like the Reality TV shows do not necessary mean that they are important. Sadly, only a few people have known that. All the same, even the few who know it have been caught up in the process. Everyone is after watching these Reality TV shows just because the media set an agenda on them. Families, friend and neighbors are stuck on the TV watching Reality TV shows forgetting that what actually is real is in their very nature that they uphold (Glynn, pp. 6-10).
Reality TV in general has nothing more than a sparkle of reality and authenticity in it. It is quite hard to assert that something is in its reality when surrounded by many cameras where many viewers are going after each episode. I know many people view the same subject differently but its should not be felt as a dishonor if I pose a question like this, “would the contestants in Big Brother or in a similar context behave the same way if there were no cameras?” Then how real is this we are calling reality in Reality TV shows. I would say it is a mere manipulation and drama that only offers nothing but excitement which does not add up to an attractive picture to the conventional societal values.
It is very ironical and something that even our governments have found no problem in them. The issue is really is not watching the reality TV show but what value does it have in the life of the viewer? Are we watching the reality TV shows out of ignorance or what are the reasons for watching them? All said and done, it remains a fact that the values of propagated in the so called Reality shows cannot measure up to the realities we experience in our daily lives. Reality TV shows give the wrong ideologies and assertions to the society. The content is very artificial and cannot be trusted to reinforce the things we believe in as a society. Reality TV shows thus have turned many into a captivity of some sort and even made them worse because some viewers want to practice what they saw on the show.
In conclusion, every right has a limit and either way, boundaries should not be exceeded. Rules are rules remember and if we do not have them, we are nothing but savages. It is true that we have rights and freedoms, in this matter, the freedom of expression. However, we should not look on the “rights” part alone. There is need to consider the limits that we have put in our society to exercise control over the things that we have put in place. Reality TV shows cost governments a lot in dealing with the ravages of their outcome amongst individuals in the society. Therefore standards are important while we are producing any “Reality” TV show and letting our people to watch. Reality TV shows are apparently securing citizenship rights through the dissemination of pluralism of opinions and information. Individuals have desired sensation and anticipation for drama more than a real life encounter in the TV. It is therefore a pity to see producers benefiting from the downfall of society values and norms.