OP/ED: Is the “Jersey Shore” a bad influence on our younger generation?

Do we really want our next generation acting like the cast on the “Jersey Shore?”

The “Jersey Shore” is a hit MTV show airing since 2009. Eight housemates spend their summer at the Jersey shore. Their summer consists of physical and verbal fighting, cheating, sex with multiple partners, partying, and a lot of alcohol drinking.

“I don’t think the Jersey Shore is a good image. The guys don’t show respect for the girls, and it doesn’t seem they have any positive values,” says college student Marisa Barresi.

The production had three seasons and is getting ready to shoot the fourth season in Italy.

The show is entertaining to watch, but does it set good examples for the younger generation? Absolutely not

Yet parents let their children watch the show. Many pre-teens and teenagers watch Jersey Shore. It was the number one cable show in its time period with females aged 12-34, and the 11 p.m. repeat of the show is up as well. The later demographic is understandable. The earlier one is alarming.

These young teenagers see eight housemates on television and look up to them as celebrities. They make them their role models and think what they are doing is the cool thing to do when they grow up. Earlier versions of this style of reality TV, named the Real World, focused on young adults with careers trying to manage their lives. Now, it appears that no enters these shows with careers. Instead they join a reality show to create one. And even the Real World, a show initially praised for its cutting edge realism, is now just another recreation of eight people in a house with nothing to do but party and argue.

“I would not want my daughter, Jasleen, watching that at a young age,” says a single parent Jessica Gomez.

Many feel the younger generation has already lost values or morals over the years, and some feel with the current “role models” on television, it is just going to get worse.

“The situation is pretty much telling young guys it’s OK to sleep with any girl and telling young girls it’s OK to sleep with a guy who is somewhat famous,” says Gomez.

Many teens already act like the “Jersey Shore” cast. Many young girls like to wear the poof in their hair like one of the cast members, Snooki. Trying to look like them is just a start. How soon before they soon start to act like them?

“Younger children who are 6-11 years old are watching this show and looking up to them as role models. The media doesn’t help because they are constantly interviewing them and allowing them to thrive in this image,” says Barresi.

Producers give the impression that the show is about real life. However, it frequently is crafted by editors and producers to dramatize a certain concept of real life. They fill the episodes up with drama and conflict. Unlike shows like Survivor and the Amazing Race that have a goal or concept, the Jersey Shore’s cast aren’t working towards anything. There is no final goal. There is no completion. Instead the crew tans in salons (while they are living on the beach!), do laundry, and go to the same night clubs.

And America is hooked.

Hopefully teens learning about relationships and values will watch this show and realize this is the not right way to live. There is more to l-i-v-i-n-g than just G-T-L.

– Lauren Parfidio