When reality television shows began in the 1940s with Allen Funt’s “Candid Camera,” the standard was to entertain the public with unscripted, humorous situations.
However as time has passed, the values of reality television have evolved and taken a turn for the worse.
With shows as “16 and Pregnant,” “Jersey Shore” and “Teen Mom,” MTV is targeting younger audiences, with a demographic of Americans ages 12 to 34.
The way this age group looks, talks, acts and consumes is constructed by the clothes, music and attitudes aired on MTV’s programming and youth-slanted commercials.
The younger group of this larger demographic is greatly influenced by the actions and situations they watch on television.
This is why MTV has greatly transformed the nature of the music industry and has become a major presence in the American culture as we know it.
The preteens and teenagers watching reality television put themselves into the featured person’s situations and then yearn to be like them.
When MTV shows a teenager going through an unplanned pregnancy and life falling into place, the idea is implanted in the viewer’s mind it may not be a bad thing to have children young.
Although the women featured on “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” have their struggles, they are featured as happy and enjoying their life.
During episodes of “Jersey Shore,” the eight Guidos and Guidettes live together in a rented beach home, have casual relationships with their roommates, party and often get drunk.
The roommates encourage the wild lifestyle and attempt to keep life stress-free.
To make things worse, each cast member gets paid to act irrationally on reality television.
The fact that each person gets paid to live lavishly and make fools of themselves promotes such lifestyles to the show’s audiences.
Although the older viewers comprehend the choices the cast makes are irresponsible, the younger audience uses their actions as inspiration for their futures and daily lives.
If MTV does not want to lose its once great reputation, their reality television should learn to influence their targeted demographics to do better things with their lives.