I will admit- I was a fan of reality tv as far back as MTV’s Real World ( I know I’m dating myself) The drama, the hype, the people who dared to do, and be was so exciting. Fast- forward to recent- and reality T.V. has taken night time to a new plateau. Over 30% of television is reality tv (2013,http://www.imdb.com/stats)
The fact is- if I wanted to watch reality, I wouldn’t need a tv!! Whose reality is it anyway? My reality, does not include fighting, throwing drinks on women, back biting, gossiping, and man sharing. I realize much of what we watch is embellished and heightened to increase ratings; however, many of the reality stars have become famous for no apparent reason, other than having the most drama, fighting or for just being down right ratchet!
What kind of examples are these stars setting for our youth- particularly since the largest viewers of reality tv are between the ages of 14-22?
I was speaking to a group of young girls ages 14-18, about the importance of education and overcoming obstacles. They were a diverse group of girls in ethnicity and socio- economic backgrounds. After I spoke, several of the young ladies were really appreciative of my words and experiences I shared. One young lady ( I noticed the entire time I was speaking was not the least bit interested) asked “What reality show are you on I’ve never heard of you?” SHOCKED! I counted to 10, smiled and said – This is my reality- I graduated from college twice ( soon to be 3 times). I have worked for several fortune 100 companies, I am sought after for my thought leadership in business, I am active in my church, I have taught Vacation Bible School to young children, I have taught college courses, I’ve been awarded several awards, I am active in my community, I am a wife, a daughter, I love to read and I enjoy speaking to young ladies as yourself in hopes of making an impact. While those things may not get me on tv, I consider my reality pretty compelling all at the cost of hard work, discipline and prayer. To that, she responded “oh”! At that very moment, I realized the negative impact reality tv has on our youth.
Let’s be careful of who and what we allow to make an impression on our children. Reality tv, in my opinion, is creating a false sense of reality, for our children and even some adults. Our younger generation should have exposure to see the real reality, of everyday people , who work hard, running a business, going to school, raising a family and doing them all successfully.
As for the young lady, who inquired about what reality show I was featured on- she is now a sophomore in college, preparing for law school. Her definition of what success looks like has changed and she and I have a very close mentor relationship.
In conclusion,I am not saying reality stars are bad people, what I am saying is quite simple- reality stars be careful of the message you and your actions are sending to your viewers we only know what we see and our perception is- our “reality”.
While that may be reality tv- it is creating a false sense of “reality” for our current and future generations!