Take two: The steep downfall of child stars

Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes are just two high-profile  examples of successful childhood stars whose lives turned completely upside down post-stardom. As more and more child stars are trying to survive in show business, it’s worth questioning the harmful nature of the industry on young, impressionable actors.  

Once a child decides to pursue a career in Hollywood, they are no longer in control. Managers, publicists and parents schedule and plan every aspect of these kids lives, leaving little time for basic childhood activities, such as sports and school dances. While these activities may seem trivial in comparison to a chance at fame, it will be these same activities that the child stars will miss the most when they are craving normality.

It is hard for anyone to deal with money-hungry surroundings, but this is especially detrimental to young people who come to the realizatio n that everyone around them is just working for their own self-interest. This also puts a strenuous amount of pressure on the kid, because the work they do affects more than just their own salary.

Aside from the financial pressure of show business, these kids must also deal with the mental health risks involved in becoming a celebrity.

A life of stardom can be so easily romanticized. Flashing camera lights, hundreds of fans screaming your name, what young person wouldn’t dream of being famous? However, this high pressure lifestyle leads to young celebrities developing body-image issues and sometimes becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia are also common among  child actors who  are forced to always look their best.

Growing up is already a difficult enough process, but having to do it in the public eye, subjected to criticism from complete strangers, is a completely new challenge. Expected to be role models, young actors have to navigate through their troubles with as few public mistakes as possible.

Of course, however, there are exceptions to this general trend. Dylan and Cole Sprouse and Hilary Duff are two examples of child stars who managed their careers in healthy ways, and as adults have happily stepped out of the limelight. Unfortunately, not all child stars can let go for the thirst for attention as easily as they did. A toxic cycle begins in which they crave the attention they once received, and act out in order to obtain it.

With the difficulties our society has attached to being a child celebrity, one might questions whether or not fame is truly worth it. However, for those who are determined to follow their passion into stardom, despite the obstacles, we should help make their already taxing journey a little easier by allowing them to grow up and act without the intense stress of the possible consequences they may face. After all, kids will be kids.