NPR's story: Facing Up to Bullying Everywhere but on Reality TV brings up something that has bothered my for the past several years.
How is it possible to even make a dent in the bullying issue in schools when kids and parents are watching reality TV? Reality TV not only makes “mean” acceptable, it glorifies mean behavior.
A common thing I still hear is, “Bullying has been around forever. Kids just have to buck up.”
Bullying has been around forever. True. But first of all, that doesn’t make it any less horrible…and secondly, it wasn’t seen as “cool” so pervasively and I think we have reality TV to thank in part for that.
And it’s not just kids watching. It’s parents watching Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of Everywhere, etc., etc. Even the cooking shows are mean! Cupcake Wars. Really? Our society has gotten to the point where we can make a cupcake a weapon? I almost feel sick that we’ve pushed the boundaries so far that now it’s “normal.”
People are afraid of entertainment executives. Me included. We should be afraid of a group of people who sit around a room together and decide how to make people cry for fun.
I only have two pieces of advice. Turn off the TV…and two, explain to your kids that mean should not be their “reality.” And maybe there's a third. If you feel the same way I do, send the message any way you can that television has gone too far.