March 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM ET
Jenelle Evans of "Teen Mom 2" may be the most recent subject of a girl-fight video making the rounds on the Internet and leading to arrests, but the MTV reality star is far from the only one. In fact the 19-year-old’s video brawl is the third such clip to lead to charges in Brunswick County, N.C. alone, just in the last month. And it’s hardly a local problem.
Girl fights caught on tape appear to be a growing and dangerous trend among teens across the country, and some feel reality TV offerings, such as MTV’s “Teen Mom” and “Teen Mom 2,” are partly responsible for leading girls to believe that outrageous and violent behavior in front of the cameras is somehow acceptable.
“We’re watching these programs and thinking, ‘Nobody would behave like that,’ and assuming our children feel the same way — horrified to see it, not excited,” prosecutor Wendy Murphy explained during a discussion about the trend on TODAY. “But I think the line for kids between entertainment and warning signs, they’re not always clear the way adults are. … Kids are seeing it in a celebratory way on television. This is how you become famous. They feel this is normal — not just acceptable, but normal. The way they should be.”
Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor agrees and feels the link between reality TV and teen violence comes in part from the lack of consequences shown on such programming.
“I mean being reckless, trying new things, and not worrying about consequences is part of being a teenager,” Taylor said. “So what happens on these shows is you see no consequences. You see ‘Teen Mom’ and people think they’re getting paid, but they don’t look at what’s so hard — 24/7 raising a child. Nor do they see the consequences of assault, which is what we’re visualizing with these videos.”