As we all know, there are a lot of troubled celebrities out there. The ones making the most noise are former child celebrities. Child stars have some sort of curse attached to them. It's like if a person enters the entertainment business before they reach adulthood, no matter how big they get, they are destined to grow up to a bleak future.
People who think this way clearly watch and read too much news. Of course the media is oversaturated with bad news about young celebrities; their target audience (bigots and paranoid people) wants to see that garbage! Young celebrities have a countdown attached to them at the start of their career because general society loves stories about "sweet, innocent kids" growing up to be tainted, stinking corpses. When the countdown reaches zero, the whole world has to know about it. Hell, type "child stars" in a search engine, and the suggestions are mainly negative.
What I want to know is where people get the idea that this behavior is restricted to young people who happen to be celebrities. Did they forget the many non-famous people who drink, smoke, and/or have sex and criminal records all before age 21? Did they forget the gossip they do about adult actors' lives? Is it that hard for some of them to put two and two of general society's favorite stereotype topics together?
Adult celebrities also have a history of going crazy. But there are so many who give back to the world, and so many who have had those problems before their careers, that general society is more willing to look at the positive side of adult fame.
There are less children and teenagers in the industry than adults, and most of them are either ignored or hated for no reason by nearly everyone outside their fanbase because their work usually caters to young audiences. Combine that with the way the media throws the Lindsay Lohans in our faces, and it should be easy to conclude that child stars are no more likely to crash and burn than adult stars. I honesty wouldn't be surprised if the good to bad ratio in adult celebrities was the same in child and teen stars. It could be a longshot, but it's better than acting like adults are somehow immune to pressure and stupidity that often comes with Hollywood.
The interesting, yet sad fact is, famous young people typically have to do something stupid or at least something that they are considered too young to do in order for general society to care about them. Sometimes it's done for attention, something it isn't. If a child star grows up to do something positive, most people wouldn't give it a second thought unless it's something on a global scale. Plus, you'd have to look the celebrity up to know about it. If they grow up to be normal, they fade into obscurity and many people who oppose child stars call it a bad thing, despite normalcy being one of their major arguments. But if a former star makes a fool of him/herself, it's all over the news and people won't shut up about it.
Look at the difference in relevancy between Bow Wow and Romeo. Romeo went on to do great things. He is the president of a record label, he stayed in school, he keeps a positive image in public, and he helps make a difference in the lives of young people. Between the two, general society and the media talk more about Bow Wow. Despite Bow Wow doing some of the same things as Romeo, discussions are mainly negative gossip about little things he said or did. When Romeo comes up in a conversation, many of those same people would either not remember him, or continue to refer to him as a Bow Wow clone.
What are the positive things that general society have to say about former child celebrities? "I miss so-and-so. Whatever happened to him/her?" "Hey, remember that show about the kids with the things and the places and the this's and the thats?" and the ever popular, "Oh, that's what he/she is doing now. Moving along..." That's just sad.
Some celebrities don't even have to do anything for people to hate them. Justin Bieber doesn't seem to be doing anything wrong, other than being a young, successful singer. Yet I don't think I've ever seen so many grown men and women spew so much uncalled for hatred towards anyone more than this boy. And their reasoning is just pathetic. "His voice is too high." "He's too popular." "His hair looks ugly."
People will reach and reach for something to hate about young stars. It's 2011 and grown men and women still don't seem to know why they're wishing death on Miley Cyrus to this day. Most of her controversies are nothing more than fabrication and hypocrisy. "OMG, she was dancing on a stripper pole!" She was holding it to keep her balance, you retards. "She posed naked!" Yeah, but the picture was from the waist up, she had most of her back to the camera, and the rest of her was covered. "She has an adult boyfriend!" If it's consensual, what's the big deal?
I haven't seen the movie Kick-Ass, but I remember a big uproar in regards to the little girl saying one curse at some point. I mean, there were actually news articles about it and she had to testify on TV that she did not say it. All I have to say is, if you were offended by that scene, good. Now watch it again and cry yourself to sleep.
Ever notice how much emphasis is put on the fact that some celebrities quit school in order to pursue their careers? How often do you hear people talking about child stars who just graduated college?
Amanda Diva and Ralph Woolfolk IV (My Brother & Me), Larisa Oleynik (The Secret World of Alex Mack), Vanessa Baden (Kenan & Kel), and Tia and Tamera Mowry are just some of the former young stars who graduated college. In a time where not only is society nosy as all hell about celebrity lives, but America's high school dropout rate is a hot topic, how does this not end up in celebrity headlines?
Another thing to note, some of them had to juggle work and college. Apparently, most of the people who grew up on their shows barely passed high school. Do they blame the shows and movies of the graduates, or do they have a better excuse?
The young celebrities who rarely appear in the news are usually the ones who avoided the child-star-gone-bad cliche. Yet, people still manage to find something bad to say about them. It's crazy how many people automatically assume that if a person's career doesn't noticeably transition into adulthood, that they must be broke, dead, or struggling to find work. Who is to say they even want to be in the spotlight for that long? Some of them made it quite clear that they have other talents. Some are comfortable just doing smaller roles.
Larisa Oleynik, from The Secret World of Alex Mack, is a great example of a former teen idol who still does what she was famous for and maintains a clean record. Today, she has roles in movies and TV shows. Judging from her interviews, she loves where her life is right now, and she enjoyed it when she was younger.
Toran Caudell, title character of Hey Arnold, writes and produces music, and co-wrote Hilary Duff's hit debut album. All of the Brady kids are still alive, some married, some have regular careers outside of showbiz. Bryton "Little Richie" McClure of Family Matters has a program called Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving. I can go on and on about Stevie Wonder, who started at age 12. Aside from rumors, how often does the media negatively blow them up?
Another thing about child stars is, general society expects them to remain the same age forever. Even when they're 18, 21, hell, 30, people jump out of their skin if the celebrity starts smoking and/or drinking. If they pose on the cover of a magazine wearing a bikini while in their 20s, there's a huge controversy coming from idiots who don't know the difference between sex and nudity, swimwear and skankwear, or adult and child/teen bodies.
I remember a few years back, a movie message board was talking about a picture of Johnathan Taylor Thomas smoking a cigarette. The bad part about it was, he was in his late twenties. Twenty-something years old, holding a cigarette to the side, which probably wasn't even lit, and people who must have been smoking something a lot stronger were treating him like he was still a kid. Like it's 1995 and he suddenly strolled onto the set of Home Improvement with five cigars in his mouth.
This is technically off-topic, but I'll mention it anyway. Adult actors who play teen characters on TV tend to get treated like they're underaged off the camera. I'm not even going to bother ranting about how I see no point in teenagers being played by someone other than a teenager. Or about how stupid it looks when a teenager is played by someone clearly over 25 years old.
Some girls from Glee once posed in a magazine, sparking one hell of a controversy. Complaints ranged from "Like, OMG, protek de chilldrin!!" to "Wait, an adult pretending to be a half-naked teenager? That's hot... er, I mean, that's pedophilia... somehow!" The cast soon apologized to the morons who made a big deal out of nothing.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't 18 the age where people can legally consent to that sort of thing? And weren't the girls involved over 20 years old? If that's the case, then what the hell do they have to apologize for? Because these parents who claim to know their kids so well are just now realizing how easy it is for them to find porn? Because the teenagers and kids who watch that show might buy a copy just to look for them, even though most cashiers won't let them? Unless the show said, "This show brought to you by GQ, in which these characters will be half-naked," chances are, those kids and teens are quite familiar with that magazine. Especially since the pictures weren't even on the cover.
Yes, there are a lot of troubled former child stars. But there are also plenty of young people who grew up to be anything but a mess. For every Drew Barrymore, there's an Anna Chlumsky. For every Frankie Lymon, there's a Justin Timberlake. For every Olsen, there's a Mowry. Some of them are even better off now than average kids grow up to be. Those who oppose the idea of young entertainers because of the problems adults also have are usually the same who call out the entire generation when a relative handful does something stupid. And in turn, most people who talk like that don't even raise their own kids right.