In case you were wondering and according to a study by the Girl Scouts Research Institute, yes, reality shows can make girls more mean.

We can put all the bullying prevention campaigns in place that we want, but when teens are surrounded by mean, it’s hard to prevent it. People often say, “What’s the big deal? Bullying has been around forever”, but with the dawn of the reality show phenomenon, being mean has helped create a new low. Now, it’s “funny” or “cool.”

Are you reading this producers of Bad Girls Club? Do you care? Probably not, but it’s ok for us to care. Ask your kids if they watch it. If they watch it and laugh at it, worry…and say something. Somewhere along the way, we have to get the message across that if it is reality, in any way shape or form, it’s a very sad reality.

There’s another aspect to this story. Often when we see someone doing something so extreme, we feel we’re not as bad as and that gives us permission to be mean but not that mean. In other words, many popular reality shows lower the bar. It’s not ok to be mean, even if it’s not as mean as what we’re watching for “entertainment.”

When did it become ok to watch people, including teens, assault each other?