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Topics Homepage> Reality T.V. does more good than harm.

Reality T.V. does more good than harm.

PRO (3 assertions)


1-- Did you know that research indicates that regular reality TV viewers emphasize  being mean and/or lying to get ahead? A higher percentage of these girls as compared to their non-viewing counterparts claim that sometimes: You have to lie to get what you want (37% vs. 24%); Being mean earns you more respect than being nice (37% vs. 24%); and You have to be mean to others to get what you want (28% vs. 18%).

2--In a study, those who viewed reality TV regularly were more focused on the value of physical appearance. The study found that girls who view reality TV regularly are more focused on the value of physical appearance. 72% say that they spend a lot of time on their appearance, vs. the 42% of non-viewers. More than a third, 38%, say they spend a lot of time on their appearance, vs. the 42% of non-viewers. They would rather be recognized for their outer beauty than their inner beauty (28% vs. 18% of non-viewers).





You counter arguments about reality/contestant shows like American Idol or Americas Got Talent as saying while they're not harmful, they aren't good either. So you have the best of reality TV having no effect, I mean, its just entertainment like any other show- neither good nor bad effects but the worst of reality TV clearly does more harm; therefore, overall, the entire genre of reality TV does more harm to society.




Reflect on bad acts (consequences)--Refuted by first point.


Give people chances to shine (American Idol)--Although some of these contestants may be given a chance to shine, the majority of them end up being embarrassed because of their auditions. When these children or adults fail, they won't be happy. Most of the time, America does not, in fact, have talent.


Good shows (Animal Planet)--There are so many shows which have negative impacts on our societies. Furthermore, these shows are the shows which are watched more than the Animal Planet shows. Impressionable viewers who watch Jersey Shore are 38% more likely to have negative opinions about Italians and young adults. This is sourced from the Wall Street Journal. Is this positive? Not at all. There are more negatives shows than positive shows, and more people watch these negative shows. Thus, the harm outweighs the good when it comes to reality TV. 


Entertainment--Although these shows can be used for entertainment, the harm that we've shown has outweighed this simple, small amount of entertainment.


Form of escapism--Since it is a form of escapism, people may think that they should copy the reality TV stars. Then, they will copy the bad acts done by the people. Elaborate with first point.


Rights--We are not arguing that it should be banned. We are simply showing how the harm outweighs the good, as we have proven.


1. Assertion: Reality TV shows give people chances to shine and show their true talents.

Reasoning: There are many shows, such as America's Got Talent and American Idol, which allow normal people such as you or me, to show off their talents. These allow people with unrecognized talents to gain fame and wealth when they never would have been able to. This is even better than a lottery.

Evidence: There are tons of current singers who became famous and rich just because of American Idol, such as Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken, Rubben Studdard, Jordan Sparks, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, Kellie Pickler, Katharine McPhee, Elliott Yamin, David Cook, and David Archuleta. All of these singers who wouldn't ever have been famous now are world renowned thanks to the reality tv show; American Idol. These reality tv shows give the average American hope in a debt-stricken country such as our own. Another example is Britan's Got Talent. Susan Boyle, a not-well known opera singer until her premiere on Britan's Got Talent, is now world famous because of her singing on Britain's Got Talent. She is now a multi-millionaire and has gained a lot of fame.  Impact: Many Americans and British people will have hope in a terrible economy. When everything bad is happening, the only good left is hope. Reality TV is the sliver of sun that is trying to break through the impassable barrier. Reality TV is our only joy in our depressing economy.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

2. Assertion: The shows don't do any harm because all one has to do is turn it off.

Reasoning: Reality TV itself can't make the children addicted to themselves. Really, bad or negligent parenting is at fault if impressionable children are watching inappropriate shows--not the show itself. That's why most shows have ratings like 14+ for viewers minimum age. These shows are not meant for children, and that is why they've earned these ratings. It is the parents' job to make sure that these children do not see inappropriate material. Older people know the consequences of these actions, and can react appropriately to the situations displayed. We agree that if young children who do not know how to react to the situations that are portrayed on some reality TV shows, however, it is not the reality TV that is doing the harm, but rather the irresponsible parents who allow their children to watch these shows.

Impact: The long-term impact of this is that children will be able to watch the shows that are age appropriate, while adults will be able to be entertained by the sometimes inappropriate material portrayed on reality tv.

Source: Huffington Post

3. Assertion: People reflect on the bad actions and do what is right.

Reasoning: Many of the reality tv shows actually show bad things such as drinking, taking drugs, or swearing. However, they also show the consequences of doing these bad things. Children and even adults watching these shows can see what can happen after doing that, without experiencing it first hand. It shows them exactly what not to do. Although these shows are not about math or science, they are educational, in the sense that they teach our younger generation right and wrong. This would help our children to make the right decisions later in life.

Evidence: In 2009, the teenage pregnancy rate in the United States dropped to its lowest levels in 70 years; the birth rate among girls aged 15 to 19 fell to 39.1 births per 1,000 teens. That's a six per cent decline ” the largest one-year drop in 40 years. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a survey in 2010, in which 87 percent of teens who had watched MTV's 16 and Pregnant felt the show educated them about becoming a parent at such a young age. Only 13 percent felt the show glamorized teen pregnancy. Also, the Girl Scout Institute conducted a survey in April 2001, which consisted of a national sample of 1,141 girls aged 11 to 17. 75% of surveyed girls said the programs have inspired conversations with their parents and friends. Some girls even said they take inspiration from the shows, with 68% agreeing with the statement that the shows make me think I can achieve anything in life, while 62% said the shows have raised their awareness of social issues and causes. 62% of the reality TV viewers responded No to a question asking, Do you think a girl's value is based on how she looks? The survey also found that regular reality TV viewers are more confident and self-assured than nonviewers when it comes to virtually every personal characteristic they were asked about. In contrast to the popular image that most teen girls are obsessed with being beautiful and getting a boyfriend, this poll comes to many of the opposite conclusions; for example less than half, 42%, of the non-viewing girls said they "spend a lot of time" on their appearance.

Impact: Clearly, these reality TV shows are positively benefiting people. These teenagers see the consequences of bad decisions, so they don't make these bad decisions. These people are helping to boost self esteem and make them feel like they can achieve anything.

Source: Discovery Channel, National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Girl Scout Institute

CON (3 assertions)


1-- Did you know that 62% of the reality TV viewers responded No to a question asking, Do you think a girl's value is based on how she looks?

2-- Did you know that over 15 winners of American Idol are now superstars or celebrities?



Reality T.V.--genre of television programming with unscripted situations, documents actual events, and features unprofessional actors
More good than harm--there is some harm, but the benefits outweigh the harms

Resolution is specific to the U.S.


Weighing Mechanism:

This debate will be weighed on which decision would provide the most oppurtunity for success for ordinary people. 




AT: Negatively influences people -- Refuted by first point. We are arguing that the harm outweighs the good, and it is clearly shown by our first point. As we have stated, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a survey in 2010, in which 87 percent of teens who had watched MTV's 16 and Pregnant felt the show educated them about becoming a parent at such a young age. Only 13 percent felt the show glamorized teen pregnancy. 87% is more than 50%, so the good is outweighing the harm.


AT: Addictions -- Refuted by second point.

Hurts the stars on it--It is completely these people's choices to participate in these shows. It's not like we forced them to do it, and they should've realized the risk of humiliation. It is completely not the shows' fault, but the people's. Therefore, reality TV shows shouldn't be blamed for the people's choices.


AT: Inappropriate -- Refuted by second point

Causes people to do crazy things just to get on--It is completely these people's choices to do this. It's not like we forced them to do these crazy things. Reality TV shows shouldn't be the ones at fault; it should be the people.

1. Assertion: Reality TV leads to increased TV watching in both children and teenagers, which causes grades to drop.

Reasoning: These children and teenagers get easily addicted to these shows, and this only helps them take away time from their schoolwork. The US is already behind most other industrialized countries in education.

Evidence: According to the New York Times, Americans spend 1/3 of their free time watching television and of that 67% are reality shows. Clearly, this is too much time being wasted watching non-educational, addictive shows.

Impact: These shows only help make our future generations not as educated and smart. This will lead to the unemployment rate going up and more poor, starving, homeless people on the streets.

Source: New York Times

2. Assertion: Reality TV hurts the stars who are on it, their whole lives, and their reputations.

Reasoning: When a person becomes part of a reality tv show, they do not realize how their life will be affected. These shows will usually make them look mean and nasty. These people will end up doing stupid stuff and sometimes stereotyped.

Evidence: Take, for example, Teresa Giudice, who in the show The Real Housewives of New Jersey, flipped a table at a couple of other women. Now, she is thought of as a person with anger problems and many people have sent her mean and nasty notes; some even asking her if she is going to an anger management class. The director of this show loved this, and instead of letting this go, decided to publicize this, making Teresa a very disliked person. This is all thanks to reality TV. Another example of this is that of Balloon Boy which happened in 2009. A 6-year-old boy was sent in a mylar-balloon on accident into the sky. When he landed, the boy was not inside. In an interview with the family, the young boy, Falcon Hene, said that his father told him, This is all so we can be famous and on a reality TV show. The father soon disregarded this comment but it is obvious that the child told the truth. After this incident, this boy was tormented by his friends and classmates, and he was called a liar because his father would not admit his mistake. Another example of this is Jon + Kate plus 8. They were once a happy couple but now because of all the stress and work that they must suffer through, they are divorced. This also affected their children because now they are split between their father and their mother. This decision did not only affect themselves but also affected their children, who sadly didn't have any say what so ever in this matter.

Impact: People's lives will be changed because of reality TV. This will negatively affect many people who take part in these reality tv shows and ultimately ruin their whole lives forever and ever. Clearly, reality TV causes problems and only makes situations worse for these reality TV stars.

Source: BBC

3. Assertion: Reality television negatively influences people.

Reasoning:  Reality TV shows obviously negatively influence people. People won't see the consequences of these bad actions; instead, they will simply copy everything that they do. How is this going to help our children, teenagers, and even adults? All these shows show to us is how to do bad things, and we don't learn from it. People imitate everything that happens in these reality TV shows since they are reality. However, it's really just bad behavior that we shouldn't be teaching to our U.S. citizens. It is an assumption that these people will actually analyze the shows and realize that they shouldn't do these things. Judge, after watching TV, do you sit there for half an hour and analyze what you just watched? Or do you just go on with your life? Moreover, do you think that children and teenagers will analyze the shows? The answer is that these people will just copy every negative thing that is shown on the show.

Evidence: According to Medical Procedure News, reality television is attributing to cosmetic surgery procedures with more than 9.2 million procedures performed as result of people watching these shows. Sourced from WebMD Medical News, reality television is contributing to eating disorders in teen girls. With shows like Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People and Extreme Make Over, young women believe that to be accepted you have to be hot or a bombshell. Since the boom of reality television in 2000, eating disorders in teenage girls (ages 13-19) have nearly tripled. Teenage girls are now suffering from anorexia and bulimia, due to the fact that these shows teach them that they need to have no fat and be extremely skinny. The Girl Scout Institute conducted a study in April 2011, which sampled 1,141 girls ages 11“17. All of the girls felt that reality TV shows promote bad behavior. The vast majority think these shows often pit girls against each other to make the shows more exciting (86%), make people think that fighting is a normal part of a romantic relationship (73%), and make people think it's okay to treat others badly (70%). Regular reality TV viewers accept and expect a higher level of drama, aggression, and bullying in their own lives as well. They are considerably more likely than non-viewers to agree that Gossiping is a normal part of a relationship between girls (78% vs. 54%); It's in girls' nature to be catty and competitive with one another (68% vs. 50%); and It's hard for me to trust other girls (63% vs. 50%).

Impact: Clearly, these shows are detrimental to our U.S. citizens and negatively affecting all of us. These teenagers do not realize that these are the things that they should not do; they follow it as if it's what they should do. This is not sending the right messages to our people. Are we trying to tell them that you need to have no fat at all to be pretty? Or are we trying to tell them that everyone needs plastic surgery to become perfect? How about that lying and being mean leads to success.

Source: Medical Procedure News, WebMD Medical News, Girl Scout Institute