Every time you turn on a reality TV program, someone is getting voted off, given a rose, getting in a fight or kicked out of the house. But is it harmless entertainment? Not really. First of all, reality TV skews our perception of what's real. Producers shoot 100% of the time, with hundreds of cameras - but use less than 1% of what they film. So they can make things look how they want by taking things out of context and re-arranging the order of events. Reality TV also makes us think anyone can be a celebrity. People are always looking to their environment for cues on how to behave. And if we see people behaving badly and being rewarded for it, we're more likely to follow suit. We're also more likely to believe we're special, because reality TV makes stars out of people - without talent, hard work, or intelligence. Another unhealthy lesson from reality TV? It reinforces stereotypes. Women are manipulative and worthless if they're not chosen by some guy. And men are judged by their abs or their wallet. It's as if nothing's changed since the 50s. Also, reality TV makes us more aggressive. It contains much more aggression - physical, verbal and relationship aggression - than regular programming. And it desensitizes us to it - which makes it seem more acceptable. Finally, reality TV is teaching us to revel on others' misfortune. We laugh at women who cry when they're dumped. We laugh when a singer is humiliated on a talent show. Why? Because it makes us feel better about ourselves. In psychology, it's called a "downward comparison." We feel superior to the poor shmo on TV who's being embarrassed. So the next time you're watching a reality show, remember, it's not as harmless as it seems.