“I’ve got a secret but you can’t tell anyone- not even a soul,” is one of the messages that is read out on Channel 4’s new reality show, Teens.
Over one million of these invasive messages and social media posts are shared on the show, documenting the lives of British teens.
One of the most shocking stories on the show is when one girl reveals that her friend is trying so desperately to lose weight that instead of eating, takes Nurofen to take away her hunger pains.
Channel 4 describes its new show as being “ground-breaking” but it’s more invasive, uneasy and absolutely shocking.
In episode one, two teenagers, Harry and Jessica, start life at a new school and are trying desperately to make friends. I’m sure the TV crew that follow them around help them to fit in.
Harry shows how important social media is in his life by trying to gain friends through likes, retweets and hits on YouTube. He makes videos of himself scaring his family, retweets mean comments about his classmates and stirs trouble online whenever he can.
Jessica does everything she can to make people not like her. She’s loud, opinionated and holds a “no more Page 3” debate, which goes disastrously. The show illustrates how far cyber-bullying can go with Jessica receiving tweets such as “You’re new to the school, pipe down”, “You only don’t like page 3 models because you’re fat and ugly” to “I heard she cried, so gutted I missed it”.
Classmates are constantly putting each other down and retweeting mean things. People are left embarrassed after giving their opinions as their classmates tear them apart on Twitter. One girl also talks about how the boys in her class made a list of the ugliest girls and posted it on Twitter. While it is a demeaning and down-right shocking show, it portrays how vicious classmates can be on social media.
It is odd to think that any parent would allow their child to be a part of this show. We see how young the participants are when one boy who is being interviewed still has teddies on his bed.
The show also features a conversation between Harry and his mother in which Harry yells “one day I will have sexual intercourse with a female”. We also see Jess buying condoms and follow her relationship with her boyfriend. The show is so invasive that it makes your skin crawl.
The show does reflect the struggles of students going through their A-Levels and the pressure to look well. Harry messages his friend “this year is all that my future depends on”. A group of girls share messages such as “I feel so fat” and “My mum’s 40 and she has a better figure than me”.
Like most reality TV shows, it succeeds in being shocking and appalling and it’s clear that the teens are too young to realise the impact that a show like this could have on their lives.