Does idolizing celebrities have a negative effect onto children?
You know human civilization has gone terribly wrong when viewing pictures such as this
Case Study #1
At the 2007 Miss Teen USA Pageant, Miss Teen South Carolina was asked why one fifth of Americans couldn’t locate the USA on a world map.
She replied, “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps, and I believe that our education like such as South Africa, and the Iraq, everywhere like, such as, and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., or should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.”
We all know that pageant girls may not collectively be the brightest crayons in the box, but in the most recent Miss America competition, the young ladies addressed some very relevant issues. Since the beginning of the human race, younger generations have idolized their elders.
When one is a young child, the mother and father are often revered as practically immortal, as if they could do no wrong. As young children turn into preteens, they switch gears and begin idolizing a younger and hotter crowd. This isn’t a recent development in the stages of growing up; in fact, dating back to legends such as Frank Sinatra and Vivien Leigh, stars influenced the choices made by teens all over the world. Whether the younger generation was influenced to wear certain brands of clothing, get their haircut in a certain style, or pick up different hobbies, celebrities always did have a controlling influence on the younger generation.
One of the few legitimate points that multiple pageant women made in the most recent competition is that celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are being idolized and it is affecting the future of America in the worst ways. We criticize them, and at the same time we rush to hear about their latest disasters. We love to hate them but we seem to idolize them while other critical issues sit on the back burner.
The Hilton sisters (who should invest in eating more) have succeeded in wooing VH1 with how and where they like to spend every penny their daddy gives them. Don’t get me wrong, I do not doubt their magnificent skills in the art of shopping, but there is a place where one must draw the line. Coming in and out of rehab like it is just another designer store is not the message that the younger generation should be witnessing. Just this week, there was a woman on “Dr. Phil” who said she would dump all of her friends if she could live the life of the Hilton sisters who she called her “idols.” Pathetic.
In a study of 142 junior high school girls, researchers found that girls who strongly idolized a male celebrity were rated higher in materialism. Heath Ledger, who had amazing looks and who we all loved, but death via overdose? This is neither the first nor last instance that a talented individual will be proclaimed dead over drugs or alcohol overdose. Some of them are drugged up, some in rehab and some are having major meltdowns, yet we all want to be like them in one way or another. What is there to idolize?
The National Eating Disorder Association keeps statistics on the dieting habits of young women. Data shows 42 percent of first- through third-grade girls say they want to be thinner, and 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat.
That statistic in itself should be a red flag to all celebrities, young and old. The image that they are sending to America’s youngest generation is both unhealthy and unsafe. More than half of 9- and 10-year-old girls said they feel better about themselves if they are on a diet, according to NEDA. Personally, I think the only thing 8-year-olds should be concerned about is which Disney movie they want to see most on Friday night.
When we were younger, pogs were all the rage and the Backstreet Boys lyrics were better memorized then the Pledge of Allegiance. The stress of weight and health was the last thing on our minds. In this day and age, “The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds,” according to the National Eating Disorder Association Web site. “Most fashion models are thinner than 98 percent of American women.”
Eating disorders have a higher mortality rate than any other mental health problem, including schizophrenia and manic depression. Weiner said 20 percent of people with eating disorders die from the disease. While an eating disorder is a mental illness, media images are a contributing factor to the disease. Obviously, it is impossible to change the standard of living to mandate healthy lifestyle, but I believe that there are other ways to encourage a more healthy way of life.
Promoting healthy weight loss at appropriate ages is one step worth taking to veer young adults away from the influences of some of the horrible role models in today’s society. Celebrities themselves must take the initiative to educate young men and women about ridiculous dieting, drugs and alcohol. Coming from someone who is idolized by the younger generation will have a greater impact on children who are struggling with adolescence and are just trying to “fit in.” There are so many steps that can prevent generations below us from becoming like many of the pop stars today; it is just up to the revered ones to make it known.
In this case here that sees a young girl idolizing over her now famous animal killer its blatantly obvious that should Dan Ashe not now ban all importations of Lion trophies into the United States then we will most certainly lose the entire population of Lions. Kendall Jones has shown some many pictures that we rarely touch on. However when it involves children then action must be taken to stop future extinctions of animals occurring.
Case Study #2
Are young celebrities setting a good moral example to children?
Today the media is everywhere society turns. With the click of a button, people can see where their friends are checking in on Facebook, what they are doing on Twitter, and even check apps regarding their favorite celebrities.
Technology has given people easy access to everyone’s lives. Fans are able to feel a part of their favorite celebrity’s everyday life by tracking their whereabouts. They feel up-to-date on what is happening in their lives. Thus, giving them a connection and a sense of closeness to celebrities. The ability to constantly know what is happening with celebrities—what they are wearing, where they are going, and what they are interested in—affects how society lives their lives. People feel the need to emulate their favorite star, so they imitate their clothes, accessories, and even attempt to attend the same type of places.
Teenagers are the most common people trying to copy their idols. Celebrities have the easiest time influencing teens because they are so vulnerable. Teenagers are in search for self-esteem, their identity, and a “cool” self-image. All of these aspects of a teenager’s life are detrimental to who they will become. The power of the celebrity has taken control of these teens and ended with negative influences.
A teen needs to satisfy his need for love, acceptance, and success in order to experience high self-esteem. He gains his self-esteem by pleasing his parents, peers, and society. This is a time in an adolescent’s life where they feel the most need for acceptance. This need for acceptance drives teens to be more experimental, innovative, and sometimes controversial. They are at a time in their life where they keep reinventing themselves. They may start out as a jock, then become a punk, then preppy, and so on and so forth.
According to Teenager Research Unlimited, fun is the number one description for the teenage generation. Teenagers emphasize freedom, yet do not want to take on the responsibilities and obligations of adults. Fun links the teens to experimentation with illegal or illicit substances. Their ideas on life are more in the clouds than in reality. Teens are thinking, dreaming, and even planning a few years ahead. This, in turn, is making celebrities a few years older than them more desirable. Teens are fans of Miley Cyrus, who was caught on film smoking marijuana, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, who went to jail for drinking and drugs. Teens consider this to be okay, and do not let instances like this hinder their idols’ likeability.
Picture depicts Kendall Jones hunting this male Lion just at the age of 14 years old!
They have become immune to things that are wrong because they constantly see celebrities conducting themselves in this manner in the media. Reality shows have become very popular and teens have begun to realize that you can become famous just by being a bad girl, teen mom, or a crazy party animal who likes to do nothing but drink and “smush,” like the cast members on Jersey Shore. All of these shows set bad examples for young teens. They broadcast that it is okay to constantly fight, be drunk, and have random hookups. A person may even become famous and make millions of dollars in doing so. Why would teenagers see anything wrong with this if society is telling them it is okay? It is not fair to teenagers because they are being influenced by negative actions. They imitate what they see, and what they see is utter chaos. While teens are forced to deal with the pressures of peers, parents, and society, teens are also forced with the questions of “Who am I?” and “Who am I becoming?” They cannot be blamed for their bad decisions and actions when they have idols like Snooki and the Situation.
Teens are confused as to who they are and who they want to be. Because teens are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be, they look to what is popular for ideas. This is where celebrities have the most influence. They turn to their idols to gain inspiration and insight into what they want to grow up to be. Teens’ strong desire to be “cool” has them willing to do, say, and act how they see fit. Teenagers are so obsessed with having the perfect image that they will go to any length to acquire it. They have put an emphasis on how important material objects are, and how they can boost their self-esteem and image. They must have the best and most popular designer brands, hairstyles, cell phones, purses, etc. Teenagers at this point in their lives find their identity through these material objects.
Brands have infiltrated preteens and adolescents’ inner lives. As long as they have the most popular items and are up-to-date with the latest trends, they have obtained great self-esteem, and for that moment in time, their identity. Teenage girls do not have wholesome idols to look up to. When mothers ask their daughters whom they want to be like, many of them will answer Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Taylor Momsen. All of whom dress provocatively. Miley Cyrus got a tattoo before she turned eighteen, performed at the Teen Choice Awards on a stripper pole in booty shorts, and was caught sending inappropriate pictures. Britney Spears has been to rehab, caught driving with her son on her lap, and had a mental breakdown. Taylor Momsen is known for her bad and rebellious attitude. Should these people be idols to easily influenced teenage girls? No. But they are the ones the media likes to constantly broadcast.
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of celebs and pop stars who have adopted the mindset that there is no such thing as negative publicity. Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton’s statuses were catapulted once they had sex tapes leaked. Another reality show that has given teenage girls another misconception on life is The Real Housewives. On The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kim Zolciak is supported by her sugar daddy, Big Poppa. She lives a lavish lifestyle provided by a married man with a family. Zolciak flaunts this, making it seem OK to young girls. Celebrities and advertisers know how vulnerable teenagers are and how much they yearn for acceptance and a “cool” identity. They know that whatever they project teenagers will follow.
Alissa Quart, author of Branded: the Buying and Selling of Teenagers, believes that times have changed from when she was a teenager. She gives an example of popular movies then, and popular movies now. She says that popular teen movies these days do not teach a lesson or depict real-life difficulties. Instead, they are filled with “un-people” who are scantily clad and have the nicest bodies and are the most popular. Not only are these “un-people” in movies, but also have begun to be shown on reality television. She’s All That and Bring It On are two of the movies she uses as examples.
Magazines, designers, and marketers all feed off the needs of teenagers for a “perfect” and “cool” self-image. Advertisers believe that teen girls are “copycats,” so Seventeen magazine assured advertisers that if they were to advertise in their magazine their brands would become super popular. They know that teenagers are so easily influenced that they believe it is best to “get ‘em while they’re young.” This is not fair to teenagers because they are forced to grow up fast. Instead of spending their time having fun and taking advantage of their youth, they have become fixated on acting and looking older.
Teens today are more body conscious than ever before. Girls are fixated on their weight and size of their breasts, while boys are focused on their muscles and height. Plastic surgery has become more prevalent than ever, and parents, along with their children, seem to find it acceptable to have a procedure done at a younger age. Thousands of girls are going in to see surgeons to have their breasts augmented, noses reshaped, ears pinned back, as well as have laser hair removal and microdermabrasions done. Heidi Montag, a star from The Hills, was shown throughout the show having surgery after surgery. She finally came out looking like a completely different person.
Stars on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills were shown having procedure after procedure done. They detect one little flaw and off to the surgeon they go. There is a need for perfection these days, and teenagers aren’t even living their lives and aging before they see a need to fix an imperfection. Along with surgery, teenage girls worry about their weight because of all the skinny celebrities they see in the media. Eating disorders are the most deadly among mental disorders and even though it is a mental health problem, the media is a major contributor to the disease. Alison Miller, a writer for Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech, believes that promoting healthy weight loss at a young age is a great way to prevent teens from following the negative footsteps of today’s role models. She also feels that it is the duty of the celebrities to educate teenagers on “ridiculous dieting, drugs, and alcohol.” Teenagers struggling with the hardships of adolescence will be more prone to listen to someone they idolize.
Teenagers seemed to be faced with many difficult decisions and harsh perceptions. They are expected to do well in school and be a good person, but they also want to be popular and confident. They feel they are supposed to look “perfect,” and spend the majority of their time stalking celebrities to find out what they need to buy and wear. Teenager’s lifestyle of simplicity seem to be a thing of the past. While they used to be busy worrying about playing sports and going to school, they are now busy worrying about that, plus their weight, wardrobe, and social status. Teens are growing up faster and are becoming immune to the negative and irrational ways of life the media project. It is not their fault they have succumbed to the glorification of unhealthy habits like smoking, drug abuse, unprotected sex, and alcohol.
It seems as though these celebrities and their ways of life are here to stay, but there are new sites launched for teenagers that give them tools to think critically about media messages they’re exposed to. Without the help of parents, peers, and most of all society and the media, teens will continue to be overcome by the negative monster that is celebrities.
The moral of the story here is that people such as Kendall Jones or any celebrity that ranks high that actively promotes such atrocities such as hunting Lions sets a very bad and immoral example to our children now and present plus future generations. There have been hundreds of cases in the past decade where children have copied their idols from smoking, drinking, taking narcotics, slimming to the point an eating disorder occurs, even going on killing sprees based on their favorite Television violent action film.
Individuals that are within the lime light especially young people must show moral and positive behavior that will rub off on to our children creating good vibes and setting a good example. One can clearly see here that this child (identity we have withheld) is happy to receive a signed autograph from Kendall with a trophy hunted Lion on the card. The college in which Kendall is attending Texas Tech University rates its students and education as “very, very high” one of the leading Tech Universities in the United States. We have contacted the Dean of Texas University and asked what their opinion is on this photograph and whether they truly believe that one of their students is truly setting a positive and professional example to the rest of the college and people of Texas in handing out such “abusive autographs”… Least forgetting how many children will see Kendall as an icon - Texas Tech University in our eyes should take the above on board and think whether this is acceptable.
2500 Broadway Avenue
Lubbock, Texas 79409-2013
ANYONE can set a bad example to children not just celebrities.
Case Study #3
Can violent games set a bad example to children?
Life-changing. That sums up the reviews I read about Jane’s game, SuperBetter. A personal life coach wrapped into a $4.99 app that is actually fun to play — and will change your life in a super better way. I nodded with excitement (and already added over 21 minutes to my life!) as I watched her TED video three times.
But if a game truly has the power to unlock such positivity on people’s lives, it made me think about some of the other “what ifs” behind the power of gaming, especially its effect on the developing brain. So, what happens when we expose our kids - our next generation of leaders, cure-seekers, and innovators - to games that are not-so-super?
As a mom of three boys who like to shoot and blast things, and as co-creator of a wholesome game that teaches kids to solve real-world problems, my mind immediately worries about all the violent video games that are out there. You know, those “M” for Mature games that parents turn their backs to while the kids stay entertained for hours.
Here are eight ways that I found violent games are bad for your kids:
1. First-Hand Role in Killing Process. To kids, virtual experiences feel very real, not only because the graphics today are so amazing, but because they are taking on a first-person role in the killing process. Rather than just passively watching a rated-R violent movie, when kids play a game, they are one of the main characters inside the adventure. The entire experience becomes a more meaningful — and deadly - in their brains, which are forming new connections every day.
2. Measure Success through Killing. You know that “I did it!” feeling you get from Jane’s SuperBetter game when you accomplish a mini task? A feeling of success should come from positive, challenging achievements — not the accomplishment of killing someone else. What kind of message is that sending to our kids?
3. Disrespect Women. I am a pretty tough little chick: I live in a house filled with plenty of testosterone, and they all know not to mess with me. But majority of the ultra-violent games feature violence toward women. Now if some games can teach the habits of heroes, why would we ever harness the power of gaming to be mean toward me, or your girls — your daughters, my boys’ future girlfriends?
4. Inappropriate Sexual Content. Just like you wouldn’t allow your child to go to or rent a rated R movie because of its inappropriate sexual content, many violent games are just as bad, if not worse. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids learn about the birds and bees through a game.
5. Resolve Conflicts through Violence. Violent video games show kids how to express themselves physically, in a violent way. It’s already way easier for a child to push another child when they’re angry than to express their emotions and resolve a conflict through words. My boys have their fair share of quarrels, but I don’t want them to learn they should resolve conflicts by hurting each other.
6. De-Sensitizes Killing. When you hear the tragic, heart-wrenching stories such as what happened in Newtown, Conn., you wonder how exposure to violent games de-sensitizes people to the act of killing other people. The thought of my little boys picking up a gun to shoot someone is not only disgusting, it teaches them to disrespect life. What if that could carry over to their own life or others? Ick, that makes me shudder.
7. Explicit Language. The first time one of my sons was exposed to a violent game, I learned quickly that he was guilty after he said, “Oh, sh@#!” Enough said.
8. Fuzzy Line Between Real and Make-Believe. Little kids have a hard time distinguishing the line between the real-world and the virtual gaming world, as young minds are still forming what is real and what is make-believe. I put it into perspective like this: If my kids believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny, then how could they possibly understand that these other bad guys in games, who look real, are not really real?
Now don’t get me wrong: I am all for allowing kids plenty of screen time to be useful, productive, creative, and help make the world a better place. When used appropriately, technology has the power and potential to be the best tool ever invented. So now go use your power-ups for the greater good, and help make the world a SuperBetter place.
Forty years ago I can remember friends of mine queuing up for autographs of famous writers and singers. Never did we see such pictures emerging of children this young idolizing over their “star idol” that takes pride in killing Lions listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list.
We are lost for words….
Thank you for reading.
International Animal Rescue Foundation has a moral duty to set a good positive example to our children. We just hope that the parents of this child pictured above and more read the above and think before their allowing their children to engage in such abnormal behavior.
This is not a good example to set and any college, university or employer should think very carefully before even allowing such an individual to work or educate with them.