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Michelle Renee

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Can Miley Turn This Thing Around?

Posted: 04/30/08 12:44 AM ET

Can the Hannah Montana starlet turn the recent negative buzz into a positive? The answer is yes, if she wants to.

Impressionable young girls everywhere have been looking up to teen star Miley Cyrus for over three years since her debut as Hannah Montana. But recently the seemingly wholesome teen has created some negative buzz and many parents, and young girls, are disheartened by the actions of this Disney stars behavior.

Miley, who just turned 15, will appear in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair draped only in a white sheet. She later released a statement apologizing to her fans and their families claiming it to have been an "artistic" choice, but later saw the photograph as embarrassing. But that isn't all. The picture in Vanity Fair really does seem artistic compared to recent personal photo's circulating on the Internet, apparently taken by herself or by her friends, and Miley is saying that they were just "silly", as reported by MTV. Silly isn't exactly how I would describe what I saw in the pictures.

What I did see, however, is a young teenage girl acting out the same way many young teens are expressing themselves online within social networking sites. In this age of overtly sexual behaviors by youth ages 12-17 due to the amount of sexual content they are bombarded with via television, cell phones, music, movies and the Internet, teens are posting similar "Miley" type pictures online faster than ever before. Sex is making its way onto the desktops of our kids at a record breaking pace.

My daughter used to be a big fan of the Hannah Montana star. I have to admit that we can't always be there with them every waking hour of the day especially with the internet being very popular amongst kids. But I am not an uninvolved parent or one that is too afraid to upset my teen by getting into her MySpace on a regular basis to inspect the content. And to my surprise, when my daughter saw the pictures of Miley baring her green lace bra by pulling it down for the camera in what looks like her room in front of the computer and inappropriately throwing herself at a young boy in other photos, she said, "She just lost my respect mom. I mean, wow, look at what she is doing and she is only a few months older than me."

I have mixed emotions when it comes to Miley Cyrus and what she has let out into the open. The way she has been choosing to carry herself lately has me scratching my head too, but I also understand that she is dealing with the very real pressures that so many of our young girls face today. The racy photos could have been a major mistake for Miley Cyrus but there are a lot of "starlets" who are doing the exact same thing. I even heard a commentator saying it is a win-win because Miley is beginning to break away from her clean image to be able to still have a career in a couple of years. If she doesn't, he said, she will be washed up. How sad of a comment is that and what does it say about the culture and pressures young girls have to deal with, particularly in the entertainment industry; an industry responsible for putting out images our daughters look up to?

This whole story of Miley gone wild has got me thinking about her parents and wondering if they ever took the necessary steps to teach her about the dangers of the Internet. Companies such as Children's Educational Network exist to help parents educate and keep their kids safe online with internet tools like TUKI, The Ultimate Kids Internet. There are inappropriate content, pornographic material, sexual predators, identity theft and illegal use of material. These are the most well-known dangers. But what about the dangers of the permanency or damage that can be caused by what you choose to say or post online? An example of this is the recent ambush by six girls against one girl who posted negative comments about a classmate online. The same thing happened to a girl my daughter used to go to school with. She posted negative comments online about another girl and was jumped at a park the next day by that girl and several of her friends.

The biggest overlooked danger of the internet is this permanency and potential harm that can be caused due to what is "posted" online. The job of the parents is to educate their kids about ALL the dangers that exist, including those that seem, at the time, harmless. On the bright side, this is a great opportunity for Miley Cyrus, and her parents, to speak out about the importance of Internet safety and how there is nothing "silly" about being a responsible Internet citizen. We are hoping this is exactly what she will do and if she does, we want her to know we are behind her 100%.

Hmmm... A Miley Cyrus Internet Safety Browser for kids using Children's Educational Network advanced technology, with an animated Miley agent to give them tips and to help keep kids safe and avoid her same mistakes online? Sounds like a great idea to me!

 

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