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Lauren Galley Headshot

The Rise and Fall of Teen Idols

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He is talented; he is famous; he is 19; he has more money than he ever dreamed... He is now charged with a DUI along with other offenses. We all know who he is. He became a household name at the age of 15, and his name is Justin Bieber.

I am 19 years old, the same age as Justin. I created my nonprofit organization Girls Above Society because I feel there is a great deal of pressure being placed on tweens and teens to be what society is shaping and trending. Many young girls are losing their confidence, morals and values as they look up to celebrities and reality TV stars with dreams of making it big, getting rich quick and/or attempting to copy the "perfect" looks of those that have money, power and resources.

I distinctly remember Justin when he first hit the media circuit. I was thrilled to finally find a pop star who had great morals, values and music that was catchy and age-appropriate. I admit, I was hooked from the start. I watched all the interviews and followed his fame. I even took a road trip to Arkansas with my best friend, Rachel, to see his concert. I can still remember how crazy we were with our banners and T-shirts that showed our love for this superstar. I loved the fact that his mom, Patty, was so involved in Justin's life and guidance. I'm sure she loved being a part of Justin's success while guiding him in a positive direction, but just how much did Justin appreciate and want the guidance given? After all, Justin was a minor and a parent must sign contracts, etc., in the business world. I often wonder now if this was all what I like to call "smoke and mirrors." Did I believe that he was innocent because of the way they marketed him as the talented young boy with a single mom and little money? Maybe... something tells me I will never know the real truth.

Seeing the rise and fall of teen idols such as Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Britney Spears really makes me realize how important positive mentors can be. Not all teen stars have walked the negative path. For example, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Selena Gomez, and Hillary Duff made positive choices and overcame the tough pressures of being a celebrity. The 18th birthday seems to be the catalyst that drives many teen stars to devastation. Parents and family lose their control, thus giving a young teenager access to vast amounts of money with an immature mind. Don't get me wrong. Parents can be a major problem in this world of fame as they see their child's money as their gain, thus losing sight of what is in the best interest of their child.

Teens of my generation are exposed 24/7 via social media and television to the latest news and videos of their chosen idols. Working hard, getting an education and possessing positive morals and values has become less and less important. Partying, style and a get-rich-quick attitude are the latest trends. Girls are fixated on looks while boys are fixated on being cool, resulting in a copycat effect that is top trending. There is a vicious, never-ending circle going on with today's youth. Parents of average kids are losing control because of their child's exposure to inappropriate language and behavior through social media and the internet. Most kids have smartphones. If a parent restricts their child's access of this content through their phone, the child can easily see this media via friends phones and television, thus making it extremely difficult to maintain proper guidance. The same goes for teen celebrities. They ignore their parental guidance and emulate their peers before they become mature enough to make difficult decisions that impact their future, similar to how Justin is behaving.

I look to those that are older and wiser for guidance. I believe positive mentors are necessary to achieve balance while striving for our goals and dreams. Great peer-to-peer mentors are lacking for teens in today's society. Most teens are resistant to looking to their elders for advice because teens believe they don't understand what they are going through. In many ways, this could be the case, however, even though the times may be different, wisdom is wisdom and learning from one's experience is priceless. The good news is that it appears most of my peers are viewing Justin Bieber's actions as foolish. Shouting all the way from Texas, "Bring on the positive mentors!"