Is Reality TV Making Us Meaner?

I haven’t watched reality TV in a while.

Six months ago however, you would have found me curled up in front of any show that had catfights, drama and people making fools of themselves.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to let this go. I just got busy.

So I make time now for the pre-recorded shows that I watch with my husband and am thankful for the opportunity of a cuddle and some fiction before bed.

Last night I sat down with some time to kill. I switched on one of my favourite reality TV shows.

I laughed at the contestents and yes I judged. Harshly.

Today I realised that I hadn’t been that mean or had those kind of thoughts in months.

As a species, we westernized humans LOVE to judge and cackle at misfortune and reality TV lets us do this behind our safety barrier.

Now, I am concerned that this kind of behaviour is taking to the streets.

Behaviour Observation One: Everyone is an Expert

Have you heard people talking about the failings of contestants on cooking shows? So many armchair judges could have done better, made it a different way, stayed cool under pressure. Bringing others down to pull themselves up.

Behaviour Observation Two: Everybody’s Twittering

You can reach out to anybody famous with a touch of your iphone. People’s judgement and criticisms are oh-so-easy to share, and because of behaviour one, they feel entitled to voice their thoughts.

Behaviour Observation Three: Negativity and Unhappiness

It’s easy to see the connection between constant negativity towards strangers and negativity to themselves. In reality contestants they are seeking perfection and so to in themselves. Both fall short and this leads to unhappiness and less joy in the world.

So what to do?

It’s time to switch off reality and get back to fictional TV. Or even better read a book, read a blog or take a bath.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.  


  1. I love love love this post! So true. I can’t bear any of it – so much negativity. Interesting thing about humanity, how we are all so ready to hate. Sad.

  2. a little bit of kindness can make someones day but being mean to someone can affect them for the rest of their lives, we may never know the harm we do!

  3. Oh, I so agree with you, I think these programmes are now a reflection of the sad real world. It seems that bitching and judgement is just a way of life now. I used to watch them too, but, I can’t now, as I find them too painful. I wish there were programmes on how our words hurt others, and the lasting affects this can have.

  4. I sometimes wonder if TV and Internet has desensitized us to the point where we feel entitled to behave/act in any which way because we saw others acting that way or we have an invisible barrier (e.g. computer) to protect us. I’m pretty sure if it came to truly “facing off” with someone and saying the same words we use behind one’s back or online so many people would think twice.

    Kindness is always the best policy, though if that’s not an option (which it sometimes isn’t), then just not engaging at all and minding your own business works absolutely fine as well. Nice post, thanks!

  5. This post rings really true for me. I used to watch a lot of reality TV and have significantly reduced the amount. I find it much more negative these days. I’m not sure if the shows have changed or if I have. But I find I can only take it in small doses now and it has to be balanced with some really good fiction (TV or reading). It has become so judgemental. Or maybe it always was and I didn’t notice. Either way, you are right. We need less negativity and judgement in our society (and therefore in our lives).

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