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The last word – Cult of celebrity

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By Dave Fouracreteacher and writer

So, a new survey finds that most children aspire to be celebrities. Such idolatry can be detrimental if it interferes with children’s school work, but let’s try and inject a bit of balance

Illustration of classroom of children dressed as celebrities

Kids eh? Just when you think you’ve got them trained, out comes a survey showing that they’re all now aspiring to be celebrities. Turns out that sports stars like Frank Lampard or Lewis Hamilton were the most popular, although pop stars rated highly too. Nice, when you think about it, because all the world loves to sing! Some even model themselves on Paris Hilton, bright young thing that she is. Well, who wouldn’t want to be named after a European capital? I have two Budapests in my class and I’ve heard tales of a Vatican City Jones in Year 8. And so what if several girls want to grow up to be a WAG? I spent most of my formative years being regularly referred to as one in school. Honest.

It doesn’t have to be seen as a negative that kids look up to sports stars

Joking aside, such idolatry can be detrimental if it interferes with children’s school work. After all, education is unnecessary for celebrity status. Even my two-year-old knows that, in between ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ during ‘Somebody’s On Ice’.

All the same, let’s be objective about this. Bringing up kids has always been about taking the newest influence and spinning it, ever since David made slingshots popular. Come on, we’re all agreed that kids need positive role models and, at a time when obesity in teenagers is spiralling out of control, it doesn’t have to be seen as a negative that kids look up to sports stars. David Beckham isn’t Ghandi, but then any kid growing up in Birmingham in 1940 with a picture of the Mahatma on his wall would have been looked at very suspiciously.

So, why not accept what we can’t change and then try to inject a little balance? A great start would be if we grown-ups didn’t take it too seriously the next time the latest incarnation of I’m a Celebrity… comes on the telly. Shock! Kids are influenced by role models! True. But the little blighters can also be influenced by those standing in front of them in class or sitting next to them on the sofa for an evening’s riveting viewing of ‘I’d do Anything on Ice for Big Brother’.

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