Teens: “Reality” Vs. Reality Essay

1259 words - 6 pages

Reality television has made a growing impact on many young teens’ lives. The truth is many teens’ and pre-teens do not understand the difference between the reality they see on television and the reality in the real world. They get the misconception that what they watch on reality television is how they should be living their lives, but they don’t see the side effects that can result from watching this type of media. The type of images that young adults are observing from the media can cause unclear messages. Reality television has a strong appeal to teens and pre-teens. Teens get the view that pregnancy, partying, and violence/drama is the way to go in life, but the reality of it is this ...view middle of the document...

Dockterman said, “Viewers who frequently watched 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom had the unrealistic perception that teen moms have a lot of time to themselves, can easily find child care, will complete school, have affordable access to health care, finished college and lived on their own” (Dockterman). Their role models on the show had turned into celebrities so why would they not want to follow in the lives of who they found as their heroes. Teen viewers get the idea that if their role models ended up becoming successful by getting pregnant and being viewed on reality television then they could go and do the same thing.
However, MTV channels have been showing countless shows to teens which led to a new case study founded by the National Bureau of Economic Research who found a faster decrease of the percentage of adolescent pregnancy due to the observing of these shows (Dockterman). 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom not only show teens being pregnant, but it also shows that teens are having sexual intercourse at a very young age. These shows are not the only television shows which stereotype this type of behavior, there are others such as Jersey Shore and Real World. MTV also shows teen viewers that it is okay to have sexual intercourse because it is shown as just having a good time. Shows from MTV can make it look like having sexual relations with a person is just a pastime, game, and target that needs to be met. These shows do not show the significance and pledge of sex that is being viewed (Hertz 52). These views are making teens think it is okay to have sexual relations with one another because it is just to have fun. The message they do not receive is this type of behavior can lead to multiple consequences and an example of that would be teen pregnancy.
A common theme that is shown throughout an episode of some teens’ favorite reality show is the consumption of alcohol. The stars of the show go out partying just to have a good time with all of their friends, but it seems like they cannot have fun without a few drinks in them. What kind of example is that for teens and preteens? The only way to have fun is too get drunk, and make horrible decisions. Mindsets toward alcohol and the upkeep of those opinions have been developed by the representations of alcohol on television (Russell 109). So if teens that inhabit a large quantity of this type of reality eventually will begin to think that partying is okay and a few drinks will not hurt them. If anything it could help them earn new friendships and feel like they are part of the popular group. Media can send out encouraging,...

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