Celebrity obsession is not a new thing.
Teenagers have always been influenced by celebrities.
More so today, when there are platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok that make it easier for them to follow the professional and personal lives of celebrity idols.
As a parent, it is only natural that you will worry over these obsessions, which left unchecked can lead to numerous issues.
Celebrity obsession among teens is usually a natural part of growing up.
The teen years are when adolescents actively seek out role models for cues on how to look and act. Celebrities lead exciting lifestyles, are talented and good looking, and therefore, your child will naturally be attracted to these qualities.
It’s important to remember that not all celebrity adoration is harmful.
Celebrities can also be positive role models to inspire teens to overcome challenges and achieve their dreams.
Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, inspires many young sportsmen to have a positive work ethic and desire for perfection in sport.
However, social media has altered the nature of celebrity obsession.
Today, teens can communicate with their idols, and gain likes from their peers when they display their photos and posts.
If a teen is vulnerable and indulges in excessive celebrity worship, this can lead to a wide range of mental health issues.
What are the limits?
Parents should always be vigilant and look out for tell-tale signs that your kids are going overboard. If they have a few posters up on the wall or follow favourite celebrities on social media, that’s okay. But you need to step in if you notice these red flags:
> Compulsive spending on idols or their merchandises, which can often put a dent in the wallet!
> Spending an inordinate amount of time on their idols, especially online
> Imitating their idols by getting tattoos, colouring their hair or putting on excessive makeup
When things get out of hand, these obsessions may interfere with your child’s sleep, homework, social life and self-esteem. It’s best to nip these types of behaviours in the bud.
What can parents do to help teens?
There are several ways you can help your child not fall prey to unhealthy obsessions:
> Help them find positive role models
> Don’t belittle their feelings
> Be more involved in your teen’s life and their choices
> Show interest and support your teen when you can; for example, you can go for concert or football match together
> Talk about their favourite celebrities and sports stars – reinforce good behaviour, and share your own values
Parents, you need to be alert about your children’s choices.
The teenage years are so important as your children are formulating their own identities and building on their self-esteem.
Always provide positive support and guide them as they discover and learn from the people around them, including celebrities.
Dr N. Thiyagar is a senior consultant paediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist. This article is courtesy of the Malaysian Paediatric Association’s Positive Parenting programme in collaboration with expert partners. For further information, please email [email protected]. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only, and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.