Many people believe that media coverage of celebrities is having a negative effect on children.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
In the past, news about famous people may have been confined to gossip columns in newspapers; these days it is not uncommon for celebrities to feature as front page news. There is evidence that the public feels there is too much news coverage of famous people. Not surprisingly, there is concern about how this might be affecting people, and in particular children.
One of the possible negative consequences of the ‘cult of celebrity’ is the tendency to confuse fame and notoriety. Celebrity scandals are just as likely to receive publicity as celebrity achievements. Indeed, some famous people have received more attention for their misuse of drugs and alcohol than for their success on the stage or in sports. Children who crave attention may come to see misbehavior as normal.
The emphasis on individuals in the public eye may also be at the expense of serious news coverage. Next to the superficial excitement of celebrity gossip, news about serious events and issues that have a more profound effect on people’s lives may seem uninteresting. Children may be forming a very distorted picture of how the world works.
The negative influence of celebrities on children can also be seen in children’s career aspirations. These days, young people are much more likely to see themselves as potential sportsmen or entertainers. The prevalence of these figures in the mass media may convey the impression that such positions are plentiful. Children may be developing unrealistic expectations that they too will become rich and famous.
In summary, the ‘cult of celebrity’ may be affecting children in a number of undesirable ways. It is important that children be taught to critically evaluate what they see in the media so that they can form a more realistic view of society, acceptable behaviour, and indeed themselves.