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Editorial: Child stars, growing up in front of the public

Growing up, many of us wanted to be like the stars we saw on TV. There was great appeal in the idea of having more money than we could spend, photoshoots every day and expensive dinners with some of Hollywood’s most famous.  

Some of the many young stars we idolized and wished we could be included Zendaya, Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus. These women were actors and singers from a very young age. Zendaya started acting at 13 and singing at 16, Lohan started acting at 12 and Cyrus started acting at 9 and singing at 16. 

There are many pros and cons to having children start acting so early. According to Backstage Magazine, some benefits can include improving memorization skills, public speaking and helping them be adaptable. If you are interested in helping your child pursue a career in acting, click here to Learn More about the craft and find available online acting classes.

Many of these singers and actors have gone on to do amazing pieces. Zendaya had a steady music label for five years and continues to act in major films like “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Cyrus has continued acting and singing, with her most recent film being in 2021 and her most recent album being in 2020.  

However, in our generation, we’ve seen many actors and singers stray from their original image and never return, including Lohan and Cyrus. However, the mental impact of being a child actor or singer doesn’t only affect women. Men such as Macaulay Culkin, Dustin Diamond and Justin Bieber are child stars who have also changed their image after being introduced to the spotlight. Culkin started acting at age four, Diamond at 10 and Bieber started singing at 13. 

We saw Millie Bobby Brown in a leather dress in 2017 when she was only 13. We saw Demi Lovato go into rehab at 18 years old. We continue to see younger and younger stars fall to the pressure of acting older than they are, and our generation has seen this influence mainly through social media.

While there are negative aspects to acting or singing at such a young age, there are currently many laws to help limit the negative impact acting at an early age may cause.  

According to Brightside, in California, there are laws preventing children from working long hours at certain ages. Children ages six through nine can only work four hours a day but can be on set for eight. Children ages nine to 16 can only work five hours but can be on set for nine. This changes slightly during holidays as they can work up to seven hours a day. 

While we grow up idolizing these young stars, it is important to understand the true nature of what it means to grow up in the realm of Hollywood and the positive and negative aspects that come with it.