Watch and Learn: Why Reality TV Just Might Be Beneficial to Your Kids

As parents, it seems like we do a lot of flip-flopping when it comes to our children and the amount of television they watch on a daily basis. One moment a little educational cartoon time is good for them, and the next moment we decide that it's bad and we shut it off. Well, before you turn off that television completely, stop and consider this: reality television might actually SAVE your child's life. Oh yes, you read that right!

ABC news reported yesterday morning that Nicholas Joy, 17, of Medford, Massachusetts, was found at 9 a.m. Tuesday, three days after he disappeared from Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine on Sunday afternoon. The adventurous teen was found on the Caribou Pond Road snowmobile trail, on the west side of the mountain, by Warwick fire captain Joel Paul. Joy was about four miles from a road and two miles from Sugarloaf Mountain.

"He was hungry. I gave him some peanuts and crackers I had in my snowmobile," Paul told ABC News affiliate WCVB. "He said he watched a survival show on TV and basically took branches and snow and made himself a shelter and slept under the shelter."

Related: The most age-inappropriate toddler gear (what were they thinking?!)

So does this mean that watching endless marathons of Survivor and Amazing Race might actually be good for us? I think watching reality television in healthy doses might not be so bad for us in the long run, if we can watch unscripted television and pick up a few tips along the way (as well as learn from their mistakes). After all, watching an episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey might just make you want to call your relatives and give your siblings a big, gracious hug (because no matter what, your situation cannot be THAT dysfunctional). Only a few simple minutes of Dance Moms remind me that I never want to be that kind of stage mom… ever. And yes, Dora and Boots might help your children develop those necessary life and navigational skills with all of their map exercises (while you get that song stuck in your head in the meantime).

So after receiving a bad rap after all these years, it looks like reality television (and their stars) might be beneficial to our society after all. But the question of "How much television is too much television?" still remains, just like "How many seasons of Dancing with the Stars is too many seasons of Dancing with the Stars?"

So tell me, do you think screen time is good for our kids after all? Or do you prefer to have your children learn the old fashioned way by developing people skills in the great outdoors (i.e. the playground). Thoughts?

- By Joanna Mazewski
Follow Joanna on Babble

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