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How Reality Television Influences Teenagers

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When teenage college students have some free time, they spend it differently depending on various factors like their mood, weather, time, etc. Among the most catchy ways to spend some spare time among students are TV shows. Of course, the number of these is enormous as well as the target of each alternative is different. Television shows have a significant impact on teenagers, and they highly influence students’ behavior, attitudes, and perceptions in various ways.

Photo by from Pexels In this article, we are going to discuss the effects of reality shows on teenagers, what the strongest and weakest sides of TV shows are, how to make teenagers watch the right shows, etc.

Many institutions even ask students to write a discussion post in order to see whether they understand how TV shows impact them and to figure out the teen perception of reality television. Instructors also want to make sure their teenage students watch “the right” shows that help them develop their social and communication skills as well as provide them with extra knowledge they can use in their lives and careers. So, do reality TV and teenage social behavior interact? How can reality TV shows be harmful, and is there any good in such content? Let’s figure it out!

Modeling behavior

Often, reality TV shows present the behavior that teenagers try to follow. Unfortunately, such shows that present aggressive behavior, promiscuity, or materialism can lead teenagers to mimic these actions, believing them to be socially acceptable or desirable.

Conflict resolution

Most reality TV shows present conflicts and drama, as well as show how these are resolved through confrontation or manipulation. This can give teenagers the impression that such strategies are practical and acceptable in real-life situations.

Body image

Many reality TV shows dwell upon physical appearance and provide their audience with idealized body types. This can lead teenage people to their body dissatisfaction and provide a negative self-image. In this case, teenagers may compare themselves to these unrealistic standards and face many psychological traumas.


Repeated exposure to the glamorous lifestyles and physical perfection that are very often displayed in reality TV shows can break teenagers' self-esteem, making them feel inadequate or less worthy.

Destroyed reality

Reality TV shows can blur the lines between reality and entertainment. Teenagers may struggle to distinguish between exaggerated scenarios and real life. This can lead to skewed perceptions of the real life.

Aspiration and expectation

The lifestyles through reality TV shows can create unrealistic aspirations and expectations. This can make teenagers believe that fame and success come without recognizing the effort and talent that are usually required in real life.

Materialism and consumerism

TV shows that highlight luxury and wealth can promote materialistic values. This can, in turn, lead teenagers to prioritize wealth and possessions over other essential aspects of their lives. As a result, a teenage student may sacrifice such vital spheres as education and personal development.

Relationships and morality

The relationships presented on reality TV shows can negatively affect teenagers' views on romance, friendship, and morality. Such TV shows that depict cheating, lying, or betrayal can lead to skewed moral values among teenage people that will lead to the degradation of the generation.

Cultural representation

Most reality TV shows lack diversity and can present various stereotypes. As a result, this can affect teenagers' understanding and acceptance of different cultures, races, and social groups.

Identity Formation

Teenagers are people who are currently in the crucial phase of forming their identities. Reality TV shows can play a significant role in shaping their sense of self as well as their place in modern society. Sometimes, this can lead to adopting identities that align with those presented on TV rather than their personal selves.

Career perceptions

Some reality TV shows that focus on specific professions, like cooking, fashion, business, etc., can inspire teenagers to try their careers in these fields. Unfortunately, sometimes, these professions are glamorized, and it can lead to unrealistic career expectations among teenagers who are to choose their future careers.

Educational attainment

Very often, reality TV shows promote quick fame and fortune, which can devalue the understanding of the importance of education and hard work among teenage students. This can potentially impact the academic motivations and aspirations among teenagers.

How to Make Students Watch the Right TV Shows?

As you can see, the negative influences of reality TV shows are pretty harmful, and it is crucial for parents, educators, and society to take some proactive steps in order to show teenagers the negative sides of such content as well as motivate them to choose beneficial TV shows that could help them prosper and develop vital skills.

-Media literacy explanation. Adults have to teach their teenagers to critically analyze media content. This will help them recognize and question the unrealistic and manipulative aspects presented on reality TV shows.
-Positive role models. Adults should encourage teenagers to follow positive role models and expose them to diverse, real-life success stories that can counterbalance the curved models presented on reality TV shows.
-Open discussions. Nothing can be more helpful than open discussions about the content and themes presented on reality TV shows. These will definitely help teenagers feel and understand the difference between entertainment and real life.

5 TV Shows That Could Interest Teenage Students

Here are some ideas of reality TV shows that could interest teenage students and bring benefits to their lives.

The Great British Bake Off

This TV show depicts how Aaateur bakers compete in a series of baking challenges. They make different dishes, from pastries to cakes, that are judged by expert bakers. The show emphasizes creativity, skill, and perseverance.

This TV show may be interesting for teens interested in cooking, baking, and culinary arts.

Shark Tank

On this show, entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to investors, who decide whether or not to invest their money. The show presents innovation, business strategy, and entrepreneurship.
The show could be interesting to teens interested in business, entrepreneurship, and innovation.


The idea of the show is that contestants stay in a remote location and have to compete in various challenges. They build alliances and strategize to avoid elimination, ultimately vying for a cash prize.
This show will hook teens interested in adventure, strategy, and outdoor survival skills.

Project Runway

Aspiring fashion designers compete to create the best garments. In the end, these are judged by fashion experts. The reality TV show focuses on creativity, design, and the fashion industry.

Thus, teens interested in fashion, design, and the creative arts will definitely find it interesting.


The hosts test the validity of myths, urban legends, and famous movie scenes using scientific methods. The show is both educational and entertaining, which makes science both accessible and fun. So, if your teen is interested in science or, on the contrary, does not believe that science can be fascinating, this TV show can help him/her change his/her mind.
We should never forget that, as with most things in our lives, reality TV shows have different sides; these could be useful as well as harmful. When it comes to teenage students, it is crucial to communicate with them and tell them that TV shows do not always produce a real-life picture, and teenagers have to always analyze what they watch and what message they get from this kind of content.
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