We Need To Stop Making Young Children Famous On The Internet
21 July 2016, 17:21 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09
Should young kids have so much power?
Internet fame in the year 2016 is a weird thing.
You can get internet famous for doing a good vine, filming yourself applying makeup, or having a sick text post on Tumblr. The possibilities are endless.
Internet fame is also having another effect. It's making the idea of "internet celebrity" so much more accessible and attainable to pre-teens that we rarely have the time to ask ourselves whether it's positive to have literal children exposed in this way.
I'm sure we all remember the Jacob Sartorious debacle that had us taking a second look at the 13 year old's purported behaviour on social media. A fan alleged that the teen, known primarily for his popularity on the app Musical.ly, had pressured and tried to coerce her into sending him nude photographs.
I'm into you...— Jacob Sartorius (@jacobsartorius) July 10, 2016
International popularity, especially at such a young age, can almost certainly breed entitlement. We know this because Justin Bieber was 12 when he became famous and now, 10 years later, he's throwing away gifts from fans and refusing to do meet and greets. Perhaps if the world had waited a few years to make Bieber an international pop sensation, our formerly dread-locked pal may have a completely different attitude about life.
FUCKIN SAV pic.twitter.com/wWPqTDzPv6— dana:) (@camdallasdonuts) July 16, 2016
Contrast Bieber with One Direction, who all became famous in their late teens, and we can see what a difference a few years makes.
Psychology Today acknowledges that attaining fame at such a young age can stunt emotional growth. Combine that with the fact that most kids haven't quite experienced the same life lessons as older teens and adults, and you have what's called a "bad combination".
gif via tumblr
Nash Grier was 15 years old when he began making culturally tone deaf videos on the internet. And, now there is truly no turning back. He is a part of the gaggle (emphasis on the gag) of Vine boys who exert influence over their fans without ever really developing viewpoints that are in step with reasonable thought and behavior.
The internet is the best & worst thing to ever happen— Nash Grier (@Nashgrier) July 19, 2016
For instance, his "What Guys Look For In A Girl" video demonstrates the (rather harmful) musings of a boy who has yet to experience very little outside the four walls of his bedroom and Algebra class.
You might even spare a thought for the young internet stars who aren't problematic but are receiving a tremendous amount of exposure and experience without having gone through the things that prepare an adult twice their age to handle similar pressures.
gif via tumblr
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Being young and famous isn't an inherently bad thing. In fact, many young stars have navigated their way from childhood internet stardom to internet adulthood stardom with very little issue. A young Troye Sivan springs to mind.
The problem here is that these kids have such tremendous influence with very little real world experience.
They share opinions, use language, and request things that can prove harmful to a young fan base or that is simply misguided. I'm not saying lets get rid of all internet children. But we should definitely be careful about the type of attention we afford some of these young people.