Reality TV shows: a bit of fun or thriving on a culture of bullying?

It always strikes me as odd, and I guess somewhat disturbing and hypocritical, when I see our morning shows spruiking the “no bullying’ message. They get experts in to talk about the things we can do to help kids avoid bullying situations and the steps we can take if we are subjected to school, workplace or online bullying. We hear the pleas to “Just be kind” and “Show respect to all”. Then less than 12 hours later, those same television stations are spruiking the reality television shows that thrive on creating conflict, manipulating backstabbing, cheap shots and downright mean and nasty behaviour. The public then relishes in the now, ritualistic, tearing each other apart, all in the name of a good laugh.

And the premises are usually always the same. Gather some celeb hungry people into a small space, have winners and losers that need to be pitted against each other. Offer some money or a spouse as a prize, add some stressful encounters, cameras, editing, the odd tantrum for good measure, and we have a pretty volatile but commercially viable ratings success.

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