Does Realty TV Lead to Bullying and Bad Behavior?

By Paul Langhorst  April 25, 2012

Does reality TV lead to increased incidents of bullying, verbal and physical abuse and other bad behavior in school?

Some experts think so.  I recently attended the National Bullying Conference put on by the School Safety Advocacy Council and attended a workshop given by Shelba Waldron, training manager for the St. Petersberg/Tampa Juvenile Welfare Board.  She confirmed what I have been telling my daughters…reality TV that depicts verbal and physical aggression can influence the way teenagers think and behave.  Shelba had facts, stats and samples to back up her claims, whereas I typically yell out “turn that junk off it will hurt your brain!”

Shelba’s session was riveting, especially the portion where she demonstrated how seemingly harmless video footage can be edited to fit or create any storyline.  She shared that a typical reality show may film 200 hours of video for a 1-hour episode allowing editors to create a show that is highly produced and a far cry from “reality.”

I wrote a full article on Shelba’s session which can be read under the News section of the CyberBully Hotline website here.

Shelba offered research by the Girl Scouts of America and the Media Research Foundation to back up her assertions and said the influence on girls/women was especially concerning. Shelba commented, “much what is classified as “cyberbullying” is done by teen girls and the language and issues at the center of these incidents is reflective of the aggressive behavior and language seen on violent reality TV shows.”



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