Child stardom: It can destroy you

By: Victor Alvarado

From the inception of the entertainment industry, selected children have been exposed to child stardom.  Whether they are used in baby commercials or as an actual characters in a television show or movie, children are not new to the spotlight.  Jackie Cooper was one of Hollywood’s first child stars back in 1925 at the tender age of 3.  Many parents could argue that their children will not face any real issues being a child star, but journalists and doctors say otherwise.  Donna Rockwell, a journalist from Saybrook Forum, called fame overall, “A dangerous drug”.  She states that by becoming exposed to fame at an early age, children can suffer multiple health problems: stress, anxiety, depression, and even drug abuse. Children are simply not mentally equipped to deal with the public’s criticism, expectations, and grueling schedule.

Directors force these children to follow strict schedules in which they wake up before dawn, rehearse for long hours on end, and not eat a balanced diet to keep up a slender physique. These children have to taken-on an adult responsibility at an early age, and are not given enough time to be children – to lead a normal life.  How could they even live their own lives when they are living the lives prescribed by their directors, parents, and producers? They are seen by many as walking money bags..

Take for instance, the Olsen twins. These girls were first introduced to the show “Full House” as the little baby, Michelle Tanner, daughter of Danny Tanner. The Olsen twins started on several shows and movies before facing an early retirement from show business at the age of 18. Throughout their childhood and young adult lives, the Olsen twins faced drug abuse, eating disorders, and endured many drug scandals. The twins have not openly said they regret the fame or celebrity status, but in a 2010 interview with Marie Claire, one of the twins, Mary-Kate said, “I look at old photos of me, and I don’t feel connected to them at all. I would never wish my upbringing on anyone… [We were] little monkey performers.”

Thus exposing your child to the limelight is a step that should be thought out and not be taken lightly.  And although not all child stars have a rough youth, the potential for disaster is ever present due to over exposure.

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