Parents Worry Social Media Has Turned Their Kids Into Celebrity Addicts

By: Lauren Wurth | Last updated: Nov 20, 2023

It is perfectly okay to appreciate the talent and aura of a public figure. However, some people idolize celebrities to an unhealthy degree. Sadly, some claim that social media has made kids into celebrity addicts, and parents are worried.

Many kids today have become obsessed with celebrities, almost worshiping them. All fingers point to social media as the reason for this unhealthy obsession.

Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” in Movie Theatres

Just this October, Taylor Swift broke the world record for the most profitable concert film in history. As part of her Eras Tour, fans could watch Swift’s captivating live performances on the big screen of theaters nationwide.

A Massive Crowd of Enthusiastic Concert-goers Queueing to Get Their Tickets

Source: Chad Davis/Flickr

The tour racked up nearly a billion dollars in ticket sales, and it shows the extraordinary lengths fans can go to experience the thrill of their favorite celebrity’s live performance.

Playboy Magazine Versus Instagram

In recent ground-breaking studies, psychological expert Lynn E. McCutcheon, has found that a new era of celebrity worship has been unleashed, and it’s all because of social media.

An Image of Colorful Magazines Featuring Celebrities on Their Covers

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Before the widespread use of social media, most people only saw news about celebrities through the pages of magazines or some weekly TV entertainment news. However, due to social media, now you can know even the minutest details, like what your favorite celebrity had for breakfast.

Social Media Has Given Fans a Direct Connection to Their Favorite Celebrities

From a celeb’s perspective, social media is an excellent avenue for promoting their brands. Unlike before, social media has created an unfiltered and direct connection between celebrities and their fans.

An Image of an Artist Performing on a Brightly Lit Stage

Source: Ronald Woan/Flickr

However, the advanced algorithms used by most of these social platforms have turned celebrity love to an obsession. For instance, liking a few pictures of an artist may lead to their content flooding your feed.

Celebrity Worship Could Devolve Into a Psychological Condition

Loving and appreciating the charisma or talent of a popular individual is acceptable by all standards. However, idolizing the very individual to the point of obsession could degenerate into a psychological condition.

Beyonce Delivering an Electrifying Performance on Stage

Source: Raph_PH/Wikimedia Commons

With the help of the Celebrity Worship Syndrome (CWS) test, a set of questions about how a person sees their favorite celebrity, McCutcheon and their colleagues assessed how celebrity worship affects the mental health of individuals.

There Are Three Levels of Celebrity Worship

According to a 2003 publication by McCutcheon, celebrity worship can be categorized into three levels. The first level is a product of a natural curiosity, wanting to know details about the celebrity’s life.

Happy Crowd Cheers as They Witness a Performance

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The second level involves getting emotionally touched by happenings in the life of the celebrity. The third level of CWS is characterized by behaviors like stalking or even murder.


Social Media Is the Foremost Driver of Obsession

Studies have proven that fan culture can sometimes be abused, particularly with the influence of social media and keeping up with trends.

An Image Displaying Various Social Media Platform Logos

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A very good way of distinguishing fandom from outright obsession is involvement in activities that disrupt the healthy lifestyle of the fan. Obsessive fans would engage in illegal or unethical activities just to show their support for a celebrity.


When Obsession With a Celebrity Calls for Rehabilitation

Having a lifestyle that falls on level three of CWS is almost the same as having a mental disorder. How do you explain the actions of someone who vandalizes government property and risks jail time, all in the name of supporting a political candidate?

A Large Gathering of People at the Entrance of a Stately Building

Source: Wikimedia Commons

But celebrity worship isn’t always negative. McCutcheon and other researchers admitted that there could be certain advantages to obsessive followership.


Celebs Can Influence Fans in Positive Ways

Earlier this year, Taylor Swift convinced around 25,000 first-time voters to register on National Voter Registration Day.

A Joyful Crowd at a Concert

Source: Picryl

However, when these same celebrities exploit their influence over followers, it may expose these fans to addictive behaviors. Likewise, some addictive activities may directly impact their physical and mental health.


Celebrity Worship Could Be Life-Altering

Imagine a teenager staying up all night for the album release of their favorite celebrity or an adult participating in an online trivia initiated by a celebrity, while leaving important work undone.

A Woman Focused on Her Laptop Screen

Source: Mary Smith/Flickr

Undoubtedly, these categories of individuals would benefit when they break free from their celebrity obsession and snap back to reality.


Millennials and Gen-Zs Are More Likely to Be Obsessed

Sampling the population of people prone to celebrity obsession, McCutcheon and other psychologists generally agree that CWS seems to impact young people the most.

A Group of Friends Sharing Laughter and Stories as They Enjoy the Moment

Source: Stephen Ransom/ISDI

Yet, there are instances of adults subject to celebrity obsession. A perfect example of this can be seen in the case of Travis Kelce’s ex-girlfriend, who has recently reported receiving death threats from Taylor Swift fans. Now, that’s a clear manifestation of obsession and celebrity worship.


There's a Way Out

Obsessive fans often exhibit a maladjusted view of their relationship with celebrities. They speak and act like they have a personal relationship with the celebrity, meanwhile they have absolutely no idea of what the person is really like.

Excited Girls Attempting to Take Pictures with 50 Cent

Source: Seeker/YouTube

If you observe such traits within yourself, reevaluate your self-perception and identity. Also, draw some boundaries regarding your admiration or adoration level for that celebrity.