Looking through the media, I see an increased hype from parents who think that sports stars and movie stars have an obligation to behave as a positive role model to the young people who look up to them. The biggest example has been Miley Cyrus. She has received constant criticism for shooting racy videos before she officially ended her Hannah Montana show with Disney, and for getting caught smoking marijuana. The thought is that as a teen star, she has to tread lightly in the event that her actions could have a negative effect on her young viewers. This idea is ridiculous. Parenting is the job of the parents, not Hollywood limelights. These stars are paid to manipulate sports equipment, entertain, and/or act out scripts. That money is not for keeping kids on the right path. Although, celebrities are in an influential position, and it would be great if they used their power for good, they can not be forced to be a constant positive influence.
The one thing that parents and other adults have to realize is that these celebrities are human beings. They have lives outside of their jobs. With this said, they have to deal with all of life’s drama and have to endure a stress that we as regular people probably can’t even imagine. For some, coping with the job may lead them to do things that are not feasible for young children. They may very well take the Charlie Sheen approachof publicizing their lives through television interviews, web casts and tweets. What we have to do is teach our children right from wrong. Let them know that it is okay for them to have their favorite celebrity. They just have to know that this person is not a God. Unlike Charlie Sheen says, living this “rock star lifestyle” is not winning, because of the consequences associated with it. They have to make decisions like you and I, and all these decisions may not be the right thing. If kids have an conscious built inside of them, nothing a celebrity does can sway them.
There is another obligation for parents. They must know the background of the shows in which their children are watching. I draw from the recent “Glee” controversy to back this statement. Parents are upset because their young children watching were told that abstinence is admirable but unrealistic, and that education was the key. Parents felt that the show is a family show and the message was unsuitable for the non-teen viewers. Sex education is always an uneasy topic, and this message does not ease the discussion. I can understand why hearing these words being told to a child who has not yet been exposed to “the talk” would make someone cringe. But I must say, the statement is not surprising given the storyline of the show. Just last week the show featured the cast members extremely inebriated. The episode was advertised before it aired, and if parents had done their research beforehand they could have prepared themselves and their children for the upcoming show.
Celebrities are in the business of making money by entertaining us with their talents. Does their status make them ideal candidates for youth models? Yes. Does this mean they are going to live up to this title? No. We can’t fault them or judge them for this. We just have to live with it.