Cops is a reality television program that first aired in 1989 and was created by John Langley and Malcom Barbour. The show takes a raw and edgy look at social deviance through the eyes of law enforcement officials. It is unconventional, in the sense that it is unscripted and unnarrated. The Effects of Deviance on Society. As we have noted, deviance is generally perceived to be disruptive in society. It can weaken established social norms, and create division and disorder. But it also has other functions which are not necessarily harmful and may actually be beneficial to society. It is one way that social change occurs.

Several adolescent televisions shows these days are full of fun, partying, fighting, and drama. Many of these shows can be categorized as reality television shows. These are shows that are used to portray what happens in reality. Some reality shows today are The Real World, Teen Mom, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and Duck Dynasty. As these shows may be exciting to watch, they can cause problems within society.

The Real World and Teen Mom are common shows that are viewed by young teenage women. As female teenagers watch these shows, they are drawn in by the drama that is going on in the reality stars lives. When thinking about Teen Mom, there are several of the stars that have faced domestic problems. With that being said, these young viewers are watching what the stars are going through and seeing how they react with the situations. In Teen Mom for example, Kailyn Lowry was once involved in a physical altercation with her boyfriend at the time (who is now her husband). Although she did admit what she did was wrong and change her life for the better, the problems with society is seen in shows like this because we view this as acceptable behavior and entertaining to watch.

As we understand media, we can see that the media is showing us what we enjoy watching. This is how they are able to make money. While this is understandable, they need to take into consideration what they are showing their viewers. This is because the actions that are being shown may seem to be just a television act, but young adolescents may see this as an action that they should perform if in a certain situation.

Violence in reality television may be seen as entertaining, but there are reasons that some of the scenes should not be shown. According to the social cognitive theory, we have more of a chance of performing a violent behavior if it is seen to be justified. (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012) With that being said, young adolescents may also decide to act as the reality star because they felt that it was an understandable action that other will agree with as well.

Social Deviance In The News

When talking about the social cognitive theory, I have seen this happen from young females watching Teen Mom. Just like Kailyn from Teen Mom, a girl in my high school was also a young mother. Not only did she have a child young, but she also was in a relationship similar to Kailyn. She was known for watching Teen Mom because she always talked about how she wished she was on the show. When the episode of Kailyn hitting her boyfriend came out, we all talked about how surprised we were that Kailyn had gotten so angry that she had hit her boyfriend. As we talked about this, the girl had decided to tell us that she had seen the episode and felt that the star was under a good bit of stress from taking care of her son that she had got to her breaking point. Although this may be understandable, this is not an action that needed to be taken. With that being said, the girl in my high school had justified the reality stars actions and recently has been seen to have similar actions as the Teen Mom star.

Television Program That Displays Social Deviance

The social cognitive theory gives an understanding of why actions may be imitated. Sometimes it is because the media portrays actions as being acceptable, but sometimes the actions are imitated because they are realistic. (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012) No matter what the reasons are, the media needs to understand what reactions viewers may have while watching television shows. If the media is showing domestic violence to be acceptable, then many viewers are going to view domestic violence as acceptable behavior.

Deviance & Social Control

Just like many other women, I get interested in reality television shows as well. Although I do enjoy the drama that is being shown, I do not justify behavior that should not be acceptable. I feel that while the media makes money on these television shows, certain scenes should not be shown. It is unfair for viewers to get the wrong impression of situations, such as domestic violence, because this could result in a lifetime of harmful behaviors being done to them or being committed by them.


Mckay, H. (2010). Reality Shows Aimed at Young Viewers Airing More Violent Scenes. Retrieved from

Television Program That Displays Social Deviance

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.