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Christian Girls Beware! Study Indicates that Reality Shows Affect Self-Image

We all know that many reality shows can instill bad behavior, but did you know that they can actually be bad for your self-image?

The Girls Scouts Research Institute recently conducted a survey in which they surveyed 1,100 girls ages 11 to 17 about reality shows. Comparisons were made between viewers and non-viewers.

Findings indicated that girls who watch reality shows such as Jersey Shore, America’s Next Top Model, and Basketball Wives on a regular basis were more inclined to focus on their appearance than non-viewers. Additionally, these same viewers believe that the shows are reflective of real life and that the antics, such as lying and being mean, are normal, acceptable, and ultimately the best methods for excelling in life.

Some key results included:

  • 73 percent of teen realty TV viewers surveyed believe that the shows demonstrate “that fighting is a normal part of a romantic relationship”
  • 70 percent feel the shows “make people think it’s okay to treat others badly”
  • 78 percent believe that gossiping between girls is normal
  • 63 percent believe that it’s “hard” to trust other girls

The results also found that watchers expect and accept violent behavior and bullying in their own lives.

The study revealed many other disturbing facts, but all lead to one sad conclusion. Reality shows are destructive, and I think it would be wise to suggest that Christian girls steer clear of them–not only because they promote bad behavior, but also because they often cause teens to question their self-worth.

Self-esteem issues are commonplace for teen girls, and these struggles often lead to depression and/or eating disorders.

PI has previously discussed how teens are often influenced by celebrities, so it is hardly surprising that bad behavior is instilled or enhanced simply by watching these shows. The proof, or at least the indication, is reflected in the results of this study.

So why not stick to television shows that inspire and strengthen? Instead of choosing reality shows, pick shows that are educational and informative. Let’s not be influenced or shamed by shows that are shallow and destructive.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

Image: Siri Stafford | Lifesize | Thinkstock + Project Inspired


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  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by on June 20, 2012 at 12:17

    There are a couple of Christian reality shows out there.

  2. Posted by on November 21, 2011 at 16:06

    I do watch reality tv, I watch jersey shore etc. But that doesn’t mean im a bad person; or that nobody on tv has morals. If someone proclaims “Why, I would NEVER watch those things”. I am being a 13 year old, and I tend to do things like that.

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by luvJesusInHeavn on November 20, 2011 at 11:59

    Has anyone else noticed that most shows these days are all about sex and etc.? It’s irritating! Are there any modern inspiration shows possibly about God’s love? I really want to know!

  4. Posted by on November 10, 2011 at 08:28

    I remember watching a show (I can’t remember which one) where reporters followed model recruiters to a mall where they randomly asked thin teenage girls if they wanted to become models. To my relief, 90% of the girls’ parents ignored them or walked away from them. The recruiters even told a size 0 girl that she was too fat to be a model! I can’t believe how harmful that is physically and mentally!

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by pinkfanatic on November 4, 2011 at 15:46

    I didn’t know how this post was going to talk about the show, but I saw the self-image part and instantly what came to mind was how everybody on any type of “reality” tv show is drop dead gorgeous. Even the main person that they’re bullying is super pretty. I guess maybe it’s Hollywood’s way of having “reality” shows with bullying but not putting the person being bullied down in their own self image.

  6. pinkpenguin318

    Posted by pinkpenguin318 on November 3, 2011 at 18:43

    I watch America’s Got Talent whenever I have access to cable TV because I have a love for fashion, but I hate the fights between the models and the stuff God goes against. It doesn’t surprise me that Reality TV shows are bad for teen girl’s self esteem. It actually gives me a relief knowing as a fact that these types of shows kill your ego. 😀

  7. Posted by on November 3, 2011 at 17:17

    Wow. I still think that we mustn’t lump all reality shows together like that. Survivor:Redemption Island, especially last season with Matt, actually edifies me, as long as there’s a Christian player on and in the moments when positive values are being used. And that’s a reality show. 🙂 Haven’t watched it yet, but I heard JCTV, a Christian TV station, has a reality show. That’s gotta be good. So don’t just lump the good ones with the bad. OK? God bless!

  8. Posted by on November 3, 2011 at 10:51

    I hate reality TV. It’s all scripted and everyone seems really dumb. A new issue magically arrises every episode. I watch TruTV’s worlds dumbest. Sometimes they curse, but it’s really funny to listen to them talk about different videos.

    • Paris

      Posted by Paris on November 3, 2011 at 23:07

      I love World’s Dumbest. It just amazes me some of the retarted things they do.

  9. Posted by on November 2, 2011 at 17:55

    I totally agree. With watching reality shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Basketball Wives, etc., we are introducing a new world of drama, gossip, profanity, and inappropriateness. Thank you for reminding us to stick to uplifting shows…like the Sing-Off! Does anyone watch that show?

    • sisterwhocares

      Posted by sisterwhocares on November 5, 2011 at 16:54

      Keeping up with the Kardashians? Ugh! I hate that show too! Kim is so airheaded, selfish, and waaaay too materialistic.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by RachelMarie on November 2, 2011 at 20:59

      I do!! i love that show 🙂 and The Voice

  10. Paris

    Posted by Paris on November 2, 2011 at 15:41

    Well,Tyra Banks always talks about how important inside beauty is,so,her show isin’t destructive in my opnion.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by RachelMarie on November 2, 2011 at 21:00

      but still, the things the models have to do and look on that show isnt going to be the most uplifting for a girl sitting at home, thinking thats what she has to look like because thats what America says is beautiful

      • Paris

        Posted by Paris on November 3, 2011 at 21:38

        They don’t have to do anything unGodly,I don’t think.

  11. Posted by on November 2, 2011 at 15:00

    I’ve never really liked Reality TV shows like those listed above and especially dislike Bridezilla. It portrays women acting not only unacceptably towards their wedding party, but even their families and soon-to-be-husbands. It’s sick.
    Anyways, this article is great! It gives me an even better reason not to watch “Reality Tv” (I question the authentication of how “real” it is all the time) and because it’s unholy and a very bad influence. Thank you for contributing to helping my walk with Jesus! You are one of my favorite bloggers. 🙂

    • tmgaouette

      Posted by tmgaouette on November 5, 2011 at 19:38

      Thank you, Jasmine, that’s so sweet. And you are right! Sadly, most reality shows create as much dysfunction as possible, becasue that’s what viewers want. I’m not sure which is sadder: The expectation or the offering.

  12. Posted by on November 2, 2011 at 14:36

    Amen! I don’t have cable anyways, but even if I did I would NEVER watch such harmful, rude, disgusting shows like those! It’s sad to see that those are the shows girls watch today and the “celebrities” in it are whom they look up to it… I can’t believe shows like that even exist… they’re just so harmful!

  13. Project Inspired

    Posted by RachelMarie on November 2, 2011 at 14:16

    sometimes, we can’t fault the girls for being like they are because thats all they ever see. from TV, from celebs who are considered role models, in music, etc. sometimes i think that i cant believe girls would act like that/think like that/etc, but then its like, well can we blame them?

    • tmgaouette

      Posted by tmgaouette on November 5, 2011 at 19:30

      Well at some point they need to take responsibility for their own actions, don’t they? Realistically we all have a pretty good idea about what is right and what is wrong. And if we don’t? Then Jesus should be the ultimate guide.

  14. Project Inspired

    Posted by Tigger96 on November 2, 2011 at 12:54

    I’ve never watched any of those show’s, but my “adopted” youth pastor(he’s not really my youth pastor) said that it was a very disgusting show. In the 5 min that he watched, there were like 10 things that the Bible says we are NOT to do.