The Italian Almanac

image from a reality show

Italian News - March 24

Images of quarreling couples and bitterly divided families on TV screens sow discord in the hearts of the real Italian families watching them, according to new research. Talk shows, reality TV and even so-called light entertainment programmes are loaded with exploding relationships and domestic anger, said concerned experts interviewed by the Eta Meta market research company. Researchers found that on Italian TV a family can be seen in crisis every 23 minutes; every 26 minutes there is a dispute between parents and children; and every 34 minutes a couple has an angry exchange.

"Everyone knows that the model of the traditional family is in a crisis," said leading psychologist Vera Slepoj. "But the image of family relationships and values that emerges from the TV is wholly distorted." The countless programmes in which family members attack each other, sometimes very harshly, are a big danger, she continued, noting that "the family is the foundation of our very civilisation." Experts said a general sense of anxiety derived not only from the portrayal of violent arguments, but also from the frequent depiction of betrayal and a basic inability to communicate.

They said children and adolescents were the most vulnerable and that they were increasingly likely to grow up feeling disillusioned with the idea of the family and its values.