One major thing that I have noticed in our modern day society is that we are all infatuated with other people’s lives. Whenever we watch shows or movies on TV, Netflix, Hulu, etc. we tend to get quite caught up with the drama, romance, heartbreak, etc. that occurs within the shows. We sometimes even try and place ourselves in a character’s shoes or pretend that we are living their life. For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to be focusing mainly on reality TV and why we become so obsessed with the way that these people live their lives.
The biggest example that we see on TV would be Keeping up with the Kardashians. Millions and millions of people watch this show and actively get involved in these celebrities lives. I have always wondered why this is. Could it be an escape from reality? A hope for fame? These questions are what inspired me to do some further research on why we choose to become so invested in the lives of others, and why we choose to spend so much time on them.
Dr. Jana Scrivani, who is a licensed clinical psychologist, explained that “it’s the perfect storm of feeling less connected with the people around us than ever before due to our busy schedules and finding that connection in characters or contestants.” She claimed that by watching these shows, we get a false sense of connection in which we feel that we actually know the people that we are watching on TV.
A cognitive behavioral therapist named Alex Hedger believes that social media also plays a part in our obsession with reality TV. Social media, along with reality TV gives us open access to these reality TV stars and their lives. So, not only are we watching them on TV, but we also have the opportunity to look them up online or through their social media accounts to learn more about them. This gives us a huge opportunity to feel like we know these people in real life or that we are a part of the show, which can give us a good escape from our own reality.
While those psychologists found that this obsession with reality TV is unhealthy, other psychologists such as Dr. Racine R. Henry believed that reality TV can be seen in a more positive light. He believes that if someone is lonely, that they can find comfort in these TV shows. However, he was quick to point out the bad side which is how these shows can make people see what they don’t have. In some shows you may see people with a lot of money who may have very simple and easy problems that are easily fixable. This can cause people to become more upset and realize what they don’t have, rather than what they do have.
So, the next time that you decide to sit down and watch Keeping up with the Kardashians, Teen Moms, or some other form of reality TV show, be sure to keep in mind that it isn’t your life. Keep in mind that while they may seem to have perfect lives, there is a lot that still goes on off of the screen.