Now, more than ever, celebrities are extremely influential in the lives of teenagers. From the casts of popular reality television shows to mainstream, A-list actors and actresses, celebrities are everywhere in the media and used to sell almost every product out there. While there are certainly some positive role models for teens among today’s celebrities, there are also many who provide a decidedly negative influence. Teens who try to emulate these celebrities may fall victim to several different issues, including:
- Drug abuse or drug addiction
- Problems with alcohol and drinking heavily
- Eating disorders
- Low self-esteem and low self-confidence
How Celebrities Influence Teens
According to a study conducted by Huston and Wright at the University of Kansas, the only thing that kids spend more time doing than watching TV shows is sleeping. Every time you turn on the TV, go to the movies or read a magazine, you see TV and movie stars, but you may not always be thinking about the effects that celebrities have on you. The message so often seen in the various forms of media that tells viewers that celebrities are like royalty and should be imitated and emulated as much as possible is harmful to teens. These messages come across not only in movies and TV shows but also in commercials, print ads, radio programs and every other way that celebrities use their names as brands.
The Negative Effects of Celebrity Influence
It seems like every day there are more and more stories and pictures on the Internet of the illicit activities of celebrities. Teens see these people partying, drinking alcohol or doing drugs, and they think they should too. This sends the message to teens that in order to have fun or be cool, you have to use these substances. It also makes it seem like it is a normal, everyday thing to abuse drugs and alcohol, and that everybody does it. Teens may begin to think that it is no big deal, and this can cause serious problems leading to and including drug and alcohol addictions, risk-taking behaviors, and even death. If you or a teen you know is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s important to get help. Call our hotline at 1-888-388-5605 to get more information on recovery.
The use and abuse of drugs and alcohol is not the only dangerous celebrity influence for teens. Some of the most common problems that occur are issues with self-esteem for teens, especially teen girls. When a teen girl flips through her favorite fashion magazine, she is inundated with pictures and articles revolving around the erroneous belief that celebrities are perfect. The air-brushed pictures, workout and diet tips, and pin-thin models can cause body images issues for teens. In trying to make themselves look like the pictures that they see, teens can cause real damage to their bodies. Working out too much or not eating enough can lead to an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. Signs of eating disorders include:
- Losing weight quickly
- Lack of energy
- Lying about eating or exercising habits
- Wearing baggy clothes
- Going to the bathroom immediately after eating
- Growing soft, white hair on the body and face
If you suspect that your teen is developing an eating disorder, it is important to get professional help quickly. Talk to a doctor, counselor or medical professional about what to do.
Combatting Negative Celebrity Influences
While it is almost impossible to completely remove any negative celebrity influence from your life, you can lessen the effects of celebrities and the media by seeking out positive role models in real life who you can aspire to be like. Try to find people who exhibit qualities you would like to have, such as honesty, optimism and perseverance. It can also be helpful to try to take the focus off of your appearance as much as possible. Remember, that you are not defined by what you look like. What really makes up a person is how they act and treat other people.