The influence of reality and talent shows on young people
Top Doctors experts explain the lights and shadows of reality shows, and the possible consequences that these programs can have on viewers, especially among the younger audience.
Since the premiere of Big Brother in 2000, reality and talent shows have become established in our country, occupying a large part of the television grid, reaching maximum audience ratings and becoming a social phenomenon. Operación Triunfo, MasterChef, Fama or La Voz are some examples that have been a revolution among viewers, a revolution that, on the other hand, can have consequences and a negative influence among them, especially among the younger audience. “The brains of people aged 12 to 16 are primed for exploration and innovation, and cognitively they are not trained to assess risk. Therefore, an adolescent seeks to be able to identify himself and decide what he likes and what he wants to become anywhere, because the peculiar structure of his brain allows and demands it. That is why reality shows have a direct influence on them,” says Dr. Oliveros, a psychiatrist specializing in psychotherapy for personality disorders and a member of Top Doctors, an online platform for finding and contacting the best medical specialists in private healthcare.
Television, as with other channels such as the Internet, is another means of exploration and information. But it is certain programs in particular that can have an impact on people’s way of thinking and living. But why are talent contests “hooked”? Does the viewer get a true picture of what it’s like to participate in these competitions? Top Doctors experts explain the lights and shadows of these shows.
The Masterchef phenomenon: competitiveness and individual success are among its star ingredients.
In recent years a “boom” of chefs has flooded the screen. They cover all the time slots and have put in value the profession of cook. The magic “recipe” of this type of programs is to get the audience to identify with the protagonists and their personal stories, and at the same time to generate in the viewer expectations of alternative ways of life or models of relating to others, which give them a plus of attractiveness. This added to star ingredients such as competitiveness and self-demanding necessary during the contest make them a social phenomenon. “Masterchef has a perfect combination. We all have a kitchen at home, it shows personal stories and relationships. As with Operación Triunfo, this contest pursues individual success, it is pure competition, i.e., to achieve the objectives you have to stand out from the rest. And that’s what gets you hooked,” says psychologist Bárbara Zapico, a member of Top Doctors.
Success, recognition, fame: the distorted reality of reality shows like Big Brother
Big Brother and its VIP version are another example of programs that, year after year, manage to accumulate a large audience. Reality shows win over viewers because they show stories from before, during and after the protagonists’ participation in the contest. This, together with fame, success and the resulting popularity, are the values that attract the public. “This type of program can encourage young viewers to believe that their lives can develop at great speed, succeed and be admired by everyone, without considering the sacrifice or pressure behind it,” says psychologist and psychotherapist Neus García Guerra, a member of Top Doctors.
Young people who aspire to earn a lot and work little: the culture of effort is on the verge of extinction.
Increasingly, the aspirations of young people are focused on earning a lot of money and working little, objectives that are transmitted by reality and talent shows. As a result, teenagers turn the distorted image that comes to them from these types of programs into an idyllic one, which, when they try to imitate it, can create feelings of frustration in them. “Young people are sensitive to failure. It is not so much the job of television as of parents and educators to nurture their curiosity and ability to fulfill their dreams. These types of programs can be beneficial for society, as long as they show the constancy, sacrifice, work and effort involved in being there, which is not usually the case,” explains David Núñez Palomo, Clinical Director of the Complutense Psychotherapy Clinic and member of Top Doctors.