The Negative Effects of Celebrity Culture
Fame is the main reason that drives celebrity culture and is associated with status, wealth and perception of the ‘perfect’ body. Unfortunately, the most dramatic effect celebrity culture has on our children is their relentless desires for popularity and to live exactly like their celebrity idol. Many children learn this through media
relations, such as:
- Music videos and DVDs
- Internet sites
Others are similarly influenced by their parents’ perception of celebrity life. With the excitement adults share in shows such as the X-Factor, it is not surprising that their children want star-status.
School Children Responses
Schools report that children are developing abnormal perceptions about their self-image and displaying negative behaviour because of being star-struck. Celebrities such as Cheryl Cole are attempting to depict cosmetic surgery in a negative light. This is to send the message to children and adults that being your natural self is always best. However, even Cheryl Cole herself conformed to celebrity-glam transformation for her X-factor debut.
Music Videos Found on the Internet
As the Internet is now easily accessible to everyone, including children, popular sites displaying music videos are an example of how many can be negatively influenced by celebrity culture. Raunchy videos displaying scantily clad female singers, in particular, are manipulating children into thinking that dressing in such a way is acceptable.
Many of these music videos found on the Internet flaunt women who are ultra-thin, wearing provocative clothing and have undergone some form of cosmetic surgery. Children who watch these videos are likely to become body image aware and feel self-conscious because they don’t look like their idol. This, in turn, has created the sexualization of children, in that they dress older than they should and find themselves contemplating cosmetic surgery at a very young age.
In Wales, analysts are looking at the impact of celebrity culture on young people’s physical health and mental well-being. They are exploring the impacts of celebrity culture and:
- Children growing up too quickly
- Whether more feedback from children is necessary
- Why enough parents aren’t voicing concern
- The acceptance of child sexualization
- How children perceive choices in clothing, language and behaviour
Researchers suggest that the incessant bombardment with sexualized celebrity culture exploits families, desensitizing adults and children to perceptions, behaviours and life choices. Succumbing to peer pressure becomes part of everyday life. Both adults and children conform to keep ridicule at bay, allowing celebrity culture to influence without limit.
Is Anything Being Done About It?
Responses by schools and health services include the provision of school-based counselling and support for parents and careers to combat the negative impacts of celebrity culture on family life. Technology plays a role in making idols role models instead of steady family members. Finding ways to alter this may involve not just teachers, health professionals and family members, but technological innovations that allow children to question and explore the influence of celebrity culture on their lives.