It's difficult for anyone to avoid news about celebrities. Splashed across magazines, newspapers, TV, movies and the Internet, celebrities are perfectly positioned to influence teenagers. Teens are looking for role models as they try to deal with the many difficult issues that go with adolescence, which can make them highly susceptible to media influences.
Teenagers often suffer from low self-esteem, which can be related to body image, according to KidsHealth. Celebrities are usually photographed looking immaculate, with flawless, hair, skin and teeth and slim, toned figures. It is natural for a teenager to compare herself to this seemingly perfect images and feel anguish because what she sees when she looks in the mirror does not compare. Taken to the extreme, a teenager might resort to a drastic diet or even develop an eating disorder in order to lose weight to look more like a skinny celebrity.
Teenagers often define themselves through their clothes, seeking inspiration from magazines and the Internet. Many celebrities endorse fashion labels and designer brands, and their fans want to imitate their style. It is healthy and natural for teenagers to experiment with different looks and try to recreate the looks of their favorite celebrities, but some celebrities dress in a way that is not appropriate for adolescents, which can cause friction between teens and their parents.
If a celebrity is pictured under the influence of alcohol or behaving in a reckless or dangerous manner, a teen who looks up to that person might decide to emulate their behavior. A teenager might think that the celebrity's life is glamorous and exciting compared to his own, which could lead to him taking more risks. On the other hand, a celebrity who sets a positive example can encourage a teen to work hard to achieve his goals, and take responsibility for his health and well-being.
Advice for Parents
Parents cannot totally control what their teenager is exposed to in the media, but by spending time with her and teaching her to respect herself, it is possible to counteract potentially negative influences of celebrities. Setting a good example for a teenager is the most powerful step a parent can take, according to WebMD. Discussing what celebrities look like and how they behave will provide a valuable insight into the mind of a teenager, and help address any issues that arise, such as low self-esteem or an eating disorder.
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