Is having 15 minutes of fame worth risking your psychological stability?
From a viewers point of view, reality shows are entertaining and investing. We watch shows like "The Bachelor," "One Night With My Ex," "Naked and Afraid" and "Survivor," anticipating what will happen next. And ever so often we are filled with our own set of emotions depending how the show plays out.
Never do we see the psychological impact it has on the contestants before or after the show has ended.
A recent example of a unsuspecting outcome of a reality TV is the suicide of a man who appearance on the British programme, "The Jeremy Kyle Show," that tackles difficult and emotional issues, from dealing with family fall-out, relationship battles to affairs.
Following the man’s death, the show was immediately axed by the production house and ITV Studios cancelled the remaining episodes.
Rakhi Beekrum, a counseling psychologist sets out a few guidelines to follow before deciding to enter a reality TV show.
"We are living in a time where fame and celebrity status are regarded by many as signs of success. There are many who aspire to feature on reality TV as a means to gain celebrity status, to attract opportunities or make money. The reality is that what we see is not always the whole picture," says Beekrum.
She said depending on the nature of reality show it is important to reflect on why you want to feature on it and she suggests asking yourself these important questions.
* What is your motivation for wanting to be on the show? How do you see it improving your life?
* Is there any disadvantage to being a contestant in the short and long term?
* There can only be one winner. Are you a graceful loser? How will you cope with getting voted out or not winning?
* Can you really handle the downside of being in the spotlight, i.e. criticism, bring trolled, being rejected?
* Can you handle immense fame and popularity?
* How resilient are you as a person and what coping mechanisms do you have?
She said, if these factors are not considered – it is possible for entrants to become easily disillusioned upon rejection or criticism.
"These come with the territory and should not be taken personally, but if taken personally can seriously damage one’s self-esteem. It is important to be realistic about the chances of winning, to try one’s best and to focus on the positive factors of the experience if they do not win," she said.