Watching television has grown more popular among teens as a form of relaxation and entertainment, and as technology advances, the availability of this form of media has also increased.
Almost any television show can be watched instantly via phone or the web. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 8 to 18-year-old children spent an average of four and a half hours watching television each day in 2009, so what exactly is it that we are watching?
The past couple of years have seen a major increase in the airtime of reality TV shows. Ever since the popularity of Survivor, networks have been trying to become a part of the reality television craze. Since our parents' generation was not nearly as exposed to reality television as we are today, the effects of this reality obsession are unknown.
One of the biggest problems with reality television is that it does not take much talent to become famous by being on a reality show. Shows like Teen Mom and Jersey Shore are making it possible for a person to become famous by doing things that are generally frowned upon such as getting pregnant at a young age and excessively partying. Teenagers who are desperate for money may be enticed by the idea that getting pregnant makes them eligible to become a reality TV star.
The blatant fact of the matter is that the popularity of reality TV comes when its characters are aggressive and slightly uneducated. While their eccentric personalities make good TV, these reality stars do not make very good role models. As reality shows become more popular during our generation, teenagers need to realize that these shows are created purely for entertainment and profit, and we should either react to them accordingly or stop watching entirely.
The effects of teenagers watching excessive amounts of reality television will only be seen throughout time. We just have to hope that what makes reality television so popular will not become popular in the actual "real world."
Teen Board Member Rebecca Smith is a sophomore at the Academy of Richmond County.