Girl Scout Study Finds Reality TV Can be Bad for Girls
Is reality TV bad for girls?
A new study by the Girl Scout Research Institute finds that teenage girls who regularly watch reality TV could turn into bullies, behavior possibly fueled by girl fights like those commonly seen on wildly popular reality shows like Jersey Shore.
"It's really sort of a case of monkey see, monkey do, what they see playing out on television, they think is the way it ought to be in real life," says INSIDE EDITION's Deborah Norville.
"Girls who watch reality TV are more likely to think that it's natural for girls to be aggressive and to bully one another. They say it's hard for them to trust other girls. They also place much more emphasis on being mean and lying to get ahead in the world," says Kimberlee Salmond, of the Girl Scout Research Institute.
Disturbingly, the study also shows that many teenage girls think acting out of control and manipulative, like the grown-up characters on shows like The Real Housewives, is normal.
The study found that girls who view reality TV regularly more likely to want to become famous, like Kim Kardashian.
Salmond tells Norville, "One of the most startling statistics in this study for us was that fully one in four girls expects to become famous one day. Fame is a goal in and of itself."
"Parents who are going to hear the results of this study are going to say, 'I told you so, you can't watch anymore!' That's unrealistic," says Norville.
"That's completely unrealistic," Salmond agrees. "I think the key for parents is to understand that not all reality TV shows are created equal. So if you see something that might be questionable you can ask your child, 'Well, is that how you would do it? What do you think about that?' "
Before you turn off reality shows for good, the study also revealed an upside. It found that girls who regularly watch reality TV also aspire to more leadership roles than girls who don't. 68% of girls who watch say the go-getter attitude of contestants on shows like American Idol make them feel like they can achieve anything.
While the study didn't look at boys, the researcher says it's a safe bet that they too are falling prey to the stereotypes of reality TV.