Reality shows like ôSurvivorö appeal to people who are concerned about fitting in with the crowd; they hold little interest for those who are not influenced by peer pressure. For those who do feel compelled to watch reality shows, however, the attraction is identification with the winner. Everyone likes to be a winner; no one likes to be a loser, and reality shows capitalize on this human trait. By converting the natural selection process inherent in normal competition into a contest with prizes, the producers of the shows have reduced life to a popularity contest in which people feel that they must be popular in order to survive. Those members of the group who do not fit in with the rest are rejected one by one, until only the winner is left.
Reality shows are inherently harmful to society, particularly to young people, who are in general are extremely susceptible to peer pressure anyway and willing to conform to the group in order to be accepted. Such shows convey the idea that being accepted is more important than doing what is right, so they encourage young people to put acceptance above morality. These shows also give the impression that being rejected is the worst possible outcome, a damaging concept since everyone is rejected multiple times throughout life and must learn to deal with rejection, not allow themselves to be devastated by it. These shows are exclusionary and prejudicial in that they suggest that those who lose the game are losers in lifeùrejects that are to be shunnedùrather than providing a more balanced view where everyone understands that the game is just a game and not a definition of any personÆs true worth.
Another damaging aspect of reality shows is the vigilante mentality that they arouse in their viewers. People who might not otherwise gang up on another person are often found to do so in the wake of reality shows. This seems to be due to the feeling conveyed by the shows that ban