February 20th, 2009 08:16 EST
Do Little Kids Really Want To Be Famous?
Watching CBS`s Kids Nation leaves uneasiness in one`s stomach. The thought of children being put on a Survivor style set and forced to fend for themselves is not considered a form of entertainment. Frankly, in most states, this is called this child abuse. Seeing this makes one question what their parents are thinking. What parent in their right mind would like their kids to be humiliated and gawked at on TV? Do kids really need fifteen minutes of fame? Does childhood fame benefit the child or the parents? The peril of childhood fame is still a fascinating subject. No one can watch The E! Truly Hollywood Story on child stars and not be a little disturbed at the sad outcome in most of these former child stars` lives. Nonetheless, thousands of parents trek down to Hollywood hoping their child will be the next big thing.
Their best bet is getting their child into anything connected to Disney. Disney`s track record of making kids stars is unmatched. So is their current record for child stars on the E! True Hollywood Story. Recently, two of Disney`s brightest and sweetest are getting a taste of when childhood fame goes wrong. High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens` n*de picture fiasco and Hannah Montana`s Miley Cyrus`s rumored Internet pregnancy represent what happens when young people are thrust into the world of fame. Both young women are innocent victims in a celebrity obsessed society where young or old are fair game for tabloid fodder.
Vanessa and Miley are two of the most recent popular and profitable of what I call the Disney Channel`s School of Fame. The cable channel draws in its fan base by marketing the good girl next door image to tweens and teens. The teen star is trapped into living up to the image, making it hard for her to get other edgy roles. Therefore, they rebel a little. Who could blame them? They are being forced to portray the pinnacle of teen-age perfection on and off screen. No one can live up to that, especially when they are just learning how to deal with raging hormones, peer pressure and acne. That being said, their scandals are not in the least surprising. Just look at few lives of past Disney child star alums, like Lindsay Lohan.
Lindsay is not the first Disney star to fall from grace and she will not be the last. Her career represents what happens when parental duty and greed collide. It all started as fun. Little Lindsay was living her and her mother`s dream. They were going to big premieres and award shows. Lindsay became the toast of Disney. A cute little red head that could act her socks off. She seems so innocent in the movies, Freaky Friday, Parent Trap and Life Size. Now, this same little innocent girl has been to rehab three times.
One has to question why any good parent would want to subject their child to any amount of public notoriety. The parents must have forgotten the number one rule of celebrity. They build you up, and then they tear you down. Public adoration is followed by public humiliation. Fame breeds jealousy. The media began to prove to the public she was not "that` perfect.
Hillary Duff is great example of a child stardom gone right, but her story is not typical. The major difference between Lindsay and Hillary may be an issue of parenting skills. Ask any parent of a child star and they will tell you it is what the child wants. These children beg their parents to drag them to auditions. If the child wanted it all to end tomorrow, they happily agree. Really. Most of these parents had show business aspirations of their own and now live vicariously through their child.
Many also give up good paying jobs and live off the child`s earnings. Therefore, the children become the main breadwinners. This is a lot to put on a kid`s shoulders. They know if they give up the big salaries and big houses, so do their families. Are children wise enough to make such tough career choices? Most adults have trouble making them.