are a common genre on TV nowadays with franchises like Pinoy Big Brother
and Survivor Philippines
ruling local channels through the years. Meanwhile, international fare like Jersey Shore
and Keeping Up with the Kardashians
occupy viewers on cable TV.
If your pre-teen and teen girls love watching TV shows like these, you might find this new study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute of the United States
interesting. According to their survey, girls aged 11 to 17
are more likely to accept negative values
if they are regular consumers of reality TV
"We were kind of surprised to find such a huge difference between girls who regularly consume reality TV and those who don't," senior researcher Kimberlee Salmond tells AFP.
"And in general, most girls actually think that reality TV is real and unscripted television
The Girl Scout researchers surveyed 1,141 girls
in April 2011 to find out how reality TV affected their perceptions of life. The reality show watchers made up around half of the girls surveyed, and the results showed their views differed greatly from non-watchers. Seventy-eight percent
of them thought gossiping was normal among females
as opposed to 54 percent of non-watchers, and 68 percent
of them believed girls are supposed to be catty and competitive
compared to 50 percent of other femmes. They also found it harder to trust fellow girls
(63 percent to non-watchers' 50 percent).
Other findings show that they are more likely to believe girls have to vie for a guy's attention
and pay attention to their appearance.
In terms of values, they also tend to think being mean gains others' respect
(37 percent to non-watchers' 25 percent) and lying
(37 percent to 24 percent) and being cruel
(28 percent to 18 percent) gets people to their goals.
The same girls describe themselves as mature and smart, and they dream of becoming leaders and role models. The researchers also found out that, contrary to expectation, girls in the US found "real life" shows like Jersey Shore
less interesting in comparison to reality contests and makeover shows.
The study's results serve as a reminder for parents. While your teenage girls are free to form their own opinions and select what they'd like to watch on TV, it's also important for you to check out the shows, give them guidance, and provide explanations when you deem them necessary. These will keep them grounded and aware of what really goes on in daily life. You can also lessen their TV time and promote other activities--such as engaging in sports or even just hanging out more with their trusted friends--to keep them active and improve their social skills.
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(Photo by stars alive via Flickr Creative Commons)