Survey: Shows Like ‘Jersey Shore’ Give Girls Distorted View Of Reality

CHICAGO (CBS) – The name “reality TV” implies it’s all real and true, though most of us know that’s hardly the case.

But a new survey shows most girls think shows like “Jersey Shore” and “The Hills” are mainly real. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot explains how the Girl Scouts are trying to set the record straight.

Girls are bombarded with images from the luxurious life of Kim Kardashian on “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and the fighting and expletive-filled rants among the cast of “Jersey Shore.”

More than 1,100 Girl Scouts were surveyed nationwide about their thoughts on reality TV. Seventy-nine percent of girls watching reality TV think the incidents on the shows are completely real.

“One out of every four girls, believes she’s going to be famous,” says Maria Wynne, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “That’s shocking. You grow up with the expectation that you’re going to be famous. For what? It doesn’t really matter.”

Teens say it’s sometimes hard to determine if the shows are “life-scripted” or real.

“The TV networks are here to entertain us. They’re not really focused on the outcome on young girls and what’s going into their minds and what they think is right,” high school senior Morgan Klovens says.

Thirty-seven percent of the girls thought being mean gets you respect. The same number thought lying helps you get what you want.

“This is such a great opportunity for parents and for kids to sit down together and have conversations about what they’re really seeing,” Wynne says.

The Girl Scouts hosted a live program streamed online Thursday called “Reality Check.” The goal was to share the realities of what girls experience each day. 

Thursday also was the start of a contest, getting girls nationwide to videotape their own lives to create a documentary, reinforcing that their own lives are more interesting than what they see on reality TV. Click here to learn more. The contest ends Nov. 30, with a winner selected in January.

One positive note about the research: Sixty-two percent of girls say reality TV has raised their awareness of social issues and causes.

More from Suzanne Le Mignot
  • christopher allen

    Girls are such gullible followers, They will just believe any social pattern they see and mimic it without giving it a second thought, especially when an Alpha female acts a certain way. They are just wired that way.

  • Gooch

    I don’t think that gullibility is a girl only thing. There are probably just as many boys out there who believe that the life is a series of go to the club, getting drunk, and bringing home any girl stupid enough to come with you and having sex. I believe the the whole situation with the Jersey Shore reflects back on the poor parenting skills of the people who raised them. If they had any family values, these fools would be doing something useful with their lives instead of simply drinking and rutting. If the parents of the Girl Scouts interviewed keep their daughters on an even keel and teach them that the important things in life have little to do with alcohol or sex but rather with character and compassion, then the girls will do fine.

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  • SJC

    Children in general are very impressionable. I’m sure if you do the same survey with Boy Scouts the results would be similar. Girls do harbor more emotions and are more prone to drama than boys, but that doesn’t make boys less vulnerable. We want children to strive and be the best they can be. But then shows like this glamorize a seemingly better fictitious lifestyle than the one they have. A lifestyle where the stars seem to be immune to the punishments of suffered in real life. To make it harder , it’s marketed to kids as reality when those who have lived their lives in no way remotely resembling those on television have a hard time convincing children it is nothing like that in the real world. The problem will not be going away any time soon as long as shows such as this one continue to make news and score high enough ratings to be kept on television.

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