Media Role Models Have a Huge Influence on Kids
* By the time our kids are in middle school, they start to look to their peers for a sense of what’s socially acceptable or desirable. * Kids choose public personas as role models, but there are no guarantees that a star will stick to a lifestyle that kids can look up to -- or that parents will approve of. * Studies show a direct link between role models, advertising, and the effects that both have on our kids' behavior. * Celebrities use the Internet to communicate directly with their fans.
Media is a gigantic super-peer
As parents, we have a natural instinct to choose who we want our kids to be friends with -- and who we'd rather they not hang around. The same instinct kicks in for media role models. We like iCarly because she's smart and kind. SpongeBob? Maybe not so much. In today's 24/7 media environment, in which kids may be spending more time with media than they are with their parents, choosing positive role models is more important than ever. At Common Sense, we often refer to media as "the other parent" -- that's how much influence it has in your kids' lives. Role models matter. Help your kids find good ones.
What it is
You don't have to look much farther than the Ariel costume in your daughter's closet or the light saber in your son's toy box to know that kids emulate their favorite characters. By the time our kids are in middle school, they start to look to their peers for a sense of what's socially acceptable or desirable. Parents may remain the primary influence in their kids' lives, but the competition starts to get fierce at this age. This separation is entirely age appropriate. But when the media comes into play, the values you want to pass down to your kids may be competing against, say, Homer Simpson's.
Why it matters
Our kids' media environment goes way beyond television. Influencers reach out to kids via YouTube, video games, Twitter, and music -- all of which are broadcast or easily accessible 24 hours a day. And as we all know, not all the characters or people who gain popularity through these channels have stellar role model credentials. Smoking is a perfect example of how media stars make things look cool. Studies show that exposure to pro-tobacco marketing and smoking in the media more than doubles the odds that kids will start smoking. And half of kids who start smoking say they do so because they saw someone they looked up to smoking in the movies. The good news is that there are plenty of positive role models you can point to that may influence your kids to make healthy choices, learn to respect others, achieve goals, and avoid anti-social behavior. Negative role models -- especially ones who don't suffer consequences for their actions -- can encourage anti-social behavior, stereotypes, and even cruelty. Help your kids choose positive media role models who embody the values you want to pass down http://girlonfire.hubpages.com/hub/Celebrity-Role-Models
Celebrity Role Models
Why We Need Role Models
I think it is an innate characteristic of human beings to look up to others and make them their role models. As children, we tend to put the people closest to us on pedestals. Our moms - or dads, for that matter - take on superhuman aspects and, usually, become our first role models. As we grow older, our elder siblings may become the ones we look up to. If that doesn't happen, there is always the cousin who seems to have it all together. Or there is the cool kid in the neighborhood. Of course, there is also the celebrity that seems to have a god-like status, especially for teenagers. And with the way media is consumed these days, even adults have their own celebrity role models. Why do we have this seemingly innate need for role models?
I am no psychologist, but it is rather understandable that every person has this need to make...