Tweens Just Want To Be Famous, So What Does That Say About Their Parents?

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A very alarming study has recently been published revealing that today’s tweens (ages 9-11) value fame above all other pursuits. To give you some perspective, fame ranked 15th to children of the same age demographic in 1997.

Psychologists and researchers point fingers at a variety of factors including social media, television shows, and the cult of the celebrity that consumes both children and adults. CNN reports:

The authors say the newest television shows, which often tend to promote celebrity lifestyles, target a younger, more impressionable set of viewers. With the increase in exposure made possible through the Internet with YouTube, Facebook and other sites, tweens feel they can be famous while accessing a virtual audience of friends and strangers.

The culprits are cited as Hannah Montana and American Idol, which do espouse completely different “values” than the other examples like I Love Lucy.

The lead author of this study, Yalda Uhls, a UCLA doctoral student in developmental psychology, comments on how this 24/7 cult of fame could impact impressionable minds:

“”When being famous and rich is much more important than being kind to others, what will happen to kids as they form their values and their identities?”

But clinical psychologist Joanna Lipari advises against throwing in the proverbial towel and saying that it’s too late for parents to intervene:

“Friends, family and community need to know how to shape these children, as opposed to shaking their heads and saying we’ve lost a generation,” says Lipari.

Social media is not an innately selfish platform or tool, and television shows that present egomanicial messages should give parents strong talking points from which to advocate the contrary. Children consistently consuming fame-endorsing media is concerning, but what’s more important is that parents are not sufficiently addressing these issues in the home. If you’re not questioning your children about their values and matters most to them, what are you talking to them about? Granted, our lives all getting increasingly faster and today’s mothers barely have time to sleep, let alone have sit-down, in-depth conversations about morals — but perhaps that too is a marker of our depreciatory times.

These findings have as much to say about today’s tweens as they do about today’s parents, and if children are blatantly in pursuit of fame above being kind, helping others, and developing a strong work ethic, I question what the other people in the home value.