Are your kids celeb clones?
Are media celebrities the type of people you want your child to admire?
(Getty Images)
At 6 years old I wanted to grow up to be Michael Jackson. I understood little English at the time so I improvised the lyrics but stayed true to the beat. The dances captivated my impressionable mind.
I was hooked because I thought I’d found my hero, my mentor.

Many young people today also adopt characters from the entertainment industry as their mentors or role models. One can't blame the poor kids when the media forces these people into our homes through television or the internet. In the end these strangers may end up wielding more influence on our kids than us, parents.

At what point should a parent worry that an adopted celebrity mentor is having a negative influence on a child? I'd worry if a child's manner of dress, speech and thinking are an imitation of a particular celebrity.

Desensitised to scandal

Some of these celebrities' behaviour is not what most parents would wish for their children. Many a celebrity has been pictured drunk or their affinity to drugs and sex orgies are graphically covered in the media for our youth to read. What message does this send to the young people who hold these famous in high esteem? Does exposure to such scandalous behaviour desensitise our young ones to what is acceptable and what is not? I think so. Ever noticed how kids exposed to violent entertainment, such as wrestling matches translate that into action?

Should we blame some celebrities for the bad influence they have on our children? To a certain extent, yes. But then are celebrities responsible for mentoring our children? No. They are here to make as much money possible. If staying in the public eye means appearing at public functions drunk or some other bad publicity stunt they'll do it. These tactics may work for celebrities but spell disaster for our kids.

A father I know, after noticing that his children were turning into pop star clones, schemed to put an end to it. One of the reasons why he and his wife had decided to have children was to be able to mentor and help them to become responsible adults. It was not this father's intention to give the mentorship of his children to some pop star who could be here today but gone next week. Together with his wife they decided to gently get back some of their kids’ attention by limiting the time the children spent on the internet, watching television or on their iPods.

The easiest way to do this was to plan inclusive family activities such as camping or playing interactive family games at home. During these family exertions the parents offered life lessons to their kids, becoming role models in the process.

Not all celebrities are a bad influence to our kids; some of them may inspire children to reach their full potential. Each parent has a responsibility to remind their children that even though celebrities have special abilities in certain areas of their lives, which make them famous, they are just as imperfect as the rest of us. They are not gods and should not be worshipped - maybe admired, a little.

I wish you the best as you compete with Beyoncé, Akon, David Beckham or Lady Gaga for your child's attention.

Are celebrities bad role models for our children?

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