The Negative Effects of Reality Television on the Society





The Negative Effects of Reality Television on the Society

The conflict perspective presents the society as unstable and it focuses on the conflict that exists between different parts of the society. This perspective posits that social change happens whenever there is a struggle between groups (Shepard 524). It recognizes the existence of differences between diverse groups of people in terms of the power they have, money, and prestige. There is an unequal distribution of valuable resources. The holders of power will do whatever it takes to hold on to it and those who lack will try to get it. The holders of the valuable wealth are the dominant group and they use their resources to control the social structures. Therefore, they are in a position to ensure that the society represents their interests at the expense of others. Since the two groups have opposing interests, they will be conflict between them. The conflict that emerges from the tension created between the different groups eventually changes social relations and it will alter the social system structure. How the resources are distributed will eventually change other societal aspects such as culture. It causes people’s values and belief systems to change.

Most ideas concerning the conflict perspective were written by Karl Marx who claimed that there would be no progress without conflict. However, other people such as Ralf Dahrendorf have made their contributions and they have advanced the understanding of conflict perspective. They have built on some of the ideas that Marx presented, while they have rejected or modified others, and they have developed their own views. Marx asserted that conflict emerges as people fight over scarce resources. He came up with the idea that people are divided into two groups comprising of those who have and those who lack. According to Dahrendorf, the desire and need for power is the cause of most conflict and it leads to social change. He was keen on identifying the existence of conflict at all levels and groups of the society (Shepard 527).

Entertainment has become more of a necessity today. This is evidenced by the increasing number of entertainment forms and technologies including television programs, movies, video games, music, the internet and more and the time that people dedicate to them. Reality television is one of the most dominant features in the modern day society. All manner of television programs ranging from survival in the jungles and the wilderness, family relations, home makeovers, plastic surgeries, and singing competitions among others have emerged. Many people have become drawn to such television shows.

The shows seek to depict the real lives of the characters. They are intent on showing the drama that the characters go through in their daily lives. Some people have become famous through such shows. They have ended up making a lot of money because of showing their life drama on television. However much the viewers are drawn to the shows, they fail to see them as forms of entertainment and many people consider what they see to be part of the daily life events that the characters go through. The producers are interested in generating revenues through advertisements and this means that they have to appeal to as many people as possible. Therefore, they will use different forms of techniques to ensure that more people watch the shows.

Reality television has had negative effects on the society. The producers understand that most people are attracted by the violence, vulgarity, and any form of sexual connotation. The more the characters seem to act irresponsibly, the more the show seems to have a wider appeal.  Different messages are passed on to the viewers. Young girls who are sexually active and they have become teenage mothers end up becoming television stars through the shows. What this communicates to young people is that they do not have to worry about the consequences of their actions. They can quit school, engage in active sexual relations, and still have a happy life. They do not have to work hard so that they can have a good future. Happy marriages today seem more of a contradiction and a false reality, as conflict is valued and divorce seems to be the norm. There is little wonder then that divorce has become prevalent in the society and families are breaking up at a fast rate.

Some reality television shows glorify the lives of the wealthy and the powerful in the society. Some of the stars in the shows rarely have to work for their wealth, yet their lives are full of glamour. Such shows aim to show a different side of life. They aim to let the viewers know how the wealthy live. No longer is vulgarity and obscenity frowned upon, as it has become accepted in the larger society. In many cases, reality shows do not explain the consequences of the characters’ behavior. Thus, the characters can engage in physical assault and different forms of bullying and nothing will happen to them. The producers of such shows understand that controversy sells. A show attracts more people if it is controversial. Although such shows are called reality, they hardly represent the real life of the character. They are often edited, as they are allocated a limited timeframe on television. During editing, the producers ensure that only the dramatic parts of the shows are left intact.

The high number of reality shows on television means that there is less time dedicated to other issues. They have taken the place of other educative programs, as the viewers find them more entertaining. They have also replaced other television shows that used to be educative, much as they were entertaining such as medical, legal, and detective dramas. Viewers learned from these shows much as they were entertained. However, some of the programs have had to be cancelled because the number of people watching the shows reduced and more television owners chose the direction of reality programming. People are no longer interested in moral values. The society has become more individualized and people are no longer concerned about forming relationships and communities. Every person seems to serve his or her own interests. Although the different entertainment forms are greatly responsible for such changes, reality television has magnified such effects.

Works Cited:

Shepard, Jon M. Cengage Advantage Books: Sociology. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print

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