Reality Television at Blame

Posted on: 08/22/08 9:14 AM | by Jonathan McKee

There really isn’t all that much I can add to this Media Life Research article:

Reality television has already been blamed for many societal ills, from the dumbing-down of television to the rise of the faux celebrity culture (think “Surreal World” contestants). Is it also responsible for promoting promiscuity?

Yes, says a new study from the State University of New York at Buffalo, at least when it comes to online social networks. The study blames heavy reality TV consumption for the proliferation of “promiscuous friending,” or being more likely to engage in friendships with people with whom you have no off-line relationship. Heavy reality TV viewers have larger social networks than average and share more photos online. What’s more, heavy reality TV viewers may adapt personality traits associated with celebrities, such as sharing personal information with all those online friends. The researchers say reality TV even may be to blame for the erosion of the distinction between the everyday world and the celebrity world.  (click here for the entire article)

It’s always fun when I see research confirm my own observations.

(shout out to Anastasia at YPulse for the link)

2 Replies to “Reality Television at Blame”

  1. I call it the Paris Hilton syndrome and it is something I have been warning my teens about for the last couple of years. I’ve talked to them about how the rise in social networks and the ability to text at any time have led some of them to behave like Paris. Constantly putting their lives in front of everyone and dramatizing the smallest of events. I do take some flak when I try to discourage the incessant text messaging but research like this seems to validate what many observant folks have already seen. Thanks for the info.

  2. this makes total sense….social networks have the potential in many ways to be the audio, video, visual, and text mediums for these individuals to have their own ‘reality show’…i know some who will not delete any comment, no matter how embarassing it may be to them.

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