In Insight

It has been proven time and time again that the spotlight can take a heavy toll on child stars—cue Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes. To experience immense fame and wealth at such a young age does not come without its pressures and pains. And what about the parents raising these mini celebs? They too are not without their highs and lows.

Thanks to the digital era, the world is experiencing the phenomenon of social media stars. They are still on a screen and behind a camera, but now their performances are shared across various platforms such as Musical.ly, Instagram, YouTube, YouNow, and Periscope instead of on a TV. These SM platforms provide teens with direct communication channels to fans, the ability to share exact locations, and what their homes, bedrooms, and family members look like at 8pm on a Monday. Their lives are on full display for the world to see, and fans can interact with stars at any given moment.

According to The Atlantic, today’s teens are spending more time on their phones than ever, with 94% of teens accessing the internet using their phone daily and 71% using more than one SM platform. Another survey illuminated that YouTube stars are more popular and influential than mainstream celebs in the eyes of US teens, so when one of them skyrockets to SM fame, how is it handled? How do parents raise an internet sensation? It’s already difficult raising movie screen kid celebs, so what are parents to do when their kid is accessible 24/7 via the powerful force that is the interweb?

Major points of contention to note:

  1. Money – how do you handle a kid who makes more money than the average adult?
  2. Education – because of scheduling and travel demands, almost all young influencers are homeschooled.
  3. Influencers risk being ostracized from friend groups and find it difficult to decipher who is a real friend and who is not.
  4. Fear of missing out on regular kid experiences. 

To address these pain points, The Atlantic writes that the first step parents of SM teen stars take is to seek help in making sense of it all. Paula Kaplan, a veteran entertainment executive, shares that it is a different world for these parents—they didn’t grow up with social media and that can be intimidating to them. Therefore they turn to Google and Yahoo for advice—because using the internet to find out how the internet works is the kooky world in which we live. Parents also turn to business managers, but Kaplan suggests hiring people who know what they are doing, and to look for people who have a track record and let parents actually be the parents.

And while this is no easy feat, the guardians of today’s young internet celebs are paving the way for the parents of tomorrow’s stars, who will be better equipped thanks to their predecessors’ numerous trials and errors. 

To read more about what it’s like to raise a social media star, go to The Atlantic.

Photo: Adrian Sava via Unsplash 

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