Reality TV: Get it out of here?

With the reappearance of “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!”  this week, several controversial opinions of reality television have resurfaced with someone in my year renaming it “I’m A Celebrity Reject… Get Me Out of Here!”.

These shows are supposed to be the epitome of A-listers but this year’s line-up has been quite a disappointment and referred to as more of a gathering of “Z-Listers”.

So why do opinions about reality television in general vary so much?

Many people think that celebrities degrade themselves through increased exposure to become more famous. Contestants carry out humiliating tasks just to entertain those watching. These situations are carefully controlled and scenes in things like “Geordie Shore” are often set up and scripted, thus deceiving the public as the fate of many contestants is often pre-determined.

So why then do these kinds of programmes like “I’m A Celebrity” have such a large following, with over 15 million people watching?

For some, reality television is a way to unwind after a busy day. It allows people to pass judgement on the actions of others and vent their feelings in a way which is healthy and not damaging to society. In some cases, celebrities can act as a role model, especially this year with gold medal winning hockey player Sam Quek who joined the line-up after the success in Rio.  These people can be a positive influence on younger people watching as it is a large platform that people can use to spread a positive message to its large audience. It promotes the independence of people and the power that they have to overcome a fear, thus encouraging its audience to do the same. This publicity, however, can be a bad thing because if a mistake is made then a large number of people witness it and the focus of the public is directed towards this person. Last year’s Lady Colin Campbell received her fair share of public hatred after her ‘nasty’ side was revealed towards the end of the series.

This kind of television is watched by so many people and contributes so much to the industry. It increases the diversity of viewing and makes programmes more accessible to a larger number of people. The programmes are largely sponsored and this promotes businesses and again increases consumer interest in products. For example, Aunt Bessie has signed a £6 million deal to sponsor “I’m A Celebrity” this year, ending Iceland’s 9 year sponsorship. Sponsorship raises brand awareness of companies and puts a spotlight on their business, thus benefitting the company enormously.

Reality television sparks diversity of opinion about whether it is just a waste of time, but if these kinds of programmes are appealing to people, and are not detrimental to society, then why should we judge people on what they choose to watch?

What is rest?

Many of us think that rest is unnecessary and even try to make ourselves busier so that we don’t seem lazy. Recent studies, however, show that a person needs 5-6 hours rest a day (not including sleeping) to have the optimum position on the well-being scale.
What is rest and what do people perceive rest to be?

Rest is the act of ceasing work to relax and take a break from the non-stop grind of work to make time for ourselves. This is beneficial as it allows us to concentrate on ourselves and not on other people and in fact most of the activities people do to rest and relax are solitary activities such as reading and baking.

Interestingly, people like to be on their own so they can stop the internal monologue in their head and they see this as “shutting off”. Many people view socialising as more of a chore than a respite from the daily routine and don’t think that it is relaxing. When you are resting, however, your brain is more active as you are not concentrating on anything and this allows your brain to wander and is less fatigued, allowing you to concentrate more when you need to.

In a recent study by Hubbub, who launched the Rest Test with BBC Radio 4, it was found that 68% of participants wanted more rest.

Activities that people do to relax are individual to them; while some might enjoy resting the body and watching tv, 16% of people who took the survey said that they preferred to work out to tire the body out. It was also found that people’s perception of rest played a key role in whether they felt they had received enough rest. Those who felt that they had not had enough rest scored lower on the wellbeing scale; even if they had actually had a specific amount of rest which was seen as appropriate by a doctor.
What was really intriguing was that those who had experienced more than 6 hours rest in a day saw a dip in wellbeing. This has raised questions about doctors prescribing “rest” to a patient as it very much depends on the person’s perspective of rest and how willing they are to find time to rest in the increasingly busy world we live in, how much rest they actually have.

Many people perceive rest to be the opposite of working. Technology today means that it is even more difficult to distinguish between rest and work, with over 1.5 million people in the UK working from home, this suggests that people never really feel as if they are resting and can lead to a burnout. This feeling of utter exhaustion means that all areas of the person’s life are affected and the extreme rest needed to recover, is often difficult to find.

Is it a good idea to lift the ban on new selective schools?

The recent proposal to end the restrictions on the creation of new grammar schools has caused great controversy as Theresa May confirmed that her government will reverse the ban which started in 1998. Many oppose this move, claiming that it will increase inequality in society. But are they right?

Continue reading “Is it a good idea to lift the ban on new selective schools?”