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Will teens stop at nothing to be famous?

Yesterday, we showed you disturbing video of a Florida cheerleader being beaten and assaulted by six of her peers. Her attackers documented the beating, allegedly with intentions of posting the video on the Internet. (Warning: This video contains graphic violence.)


Is this an example of teens' intense desire for fame going to a new and horrific level? We called friend of Mom•Logic and family therapist Shannon Fox for insight.

"Thanks to reality TV, there's this accessibility to fame that didn't exist in the past," she explains. "With the advent of MySpace and YouTube, fame really is just a click away."

Dr. Fox says when you ask teens what they want to be when they grow up, they don't list a profession like teacher or firefighter. Instead, they say they want to be famous. That's it.

Countless studies have been done on this phenomenon, and the results are always the same: Teens value fame over money, family, or even happiness.

Why? "Teens are feeling somewhat invisible these days," Dr. Fox says. "They don't get noticed by their peers for getting good grades. The easiest way to get attention from their friends and classmates is to be famous."

And for kids in junior high or high school, putting a video on YouTube or MySpace is the fastest way to gain notoriety. "They put a video online, and seconds later get fan mail flooding their in-box or MySpace page," Dr. Fox says. "It's instant gratification."

Teens will even put themselves in harm's way doing Jackass-style stunts on tape to get noticed. So what if they land in the hospital? Or get arrested for beating someone up on YouTube? According to Dr. Fox, "The consequences--no matter how severe--are so much less meaningful than the fame," she says.

"For teens, it doesn't matter if they are famous or infamous--as long as fame is in the title, they are all for it."

Yesterday's video isn't the only one we need to talk about with our kids. Click below to see what your kids could be witnessing at school and online. (Warning: These videos contain graphic violence.)

Tomorrow on ML: How to talk to your kids about violent online videos.


next: Cele-Bitty Fashion: Sean Preston Federline
25 comments so far | Post a comment now
Tony April 9, 2008, 7:11 PM

Parents must be so proud. These vermin could so with 60 days in a maximum security prison…… or watching the whole video 60 times.

A parent April 9, 2008, 7:22 PM

If there is any justice, these monsters will spend at least a decade behind bars. Don’t let anyone peddle the crap that they’re just kids, the violence they inflicted shows they are dangerous to soceity.

Common Sense Isn't Common April 9, 2008, 7:51 PM

Maybe if WE as a society didn’t glorify violence and fame, these despicable excuses for human beings wouldn’t be so fame-hungry.
And let’s not forget to thank their parents for their WONDERFUL work!

Anonymous April 9, 2008, 7:57 PM

People, we are a country at war! Violence is everywhere. Not just on you tube and myspace, but on the evening news each and every night. We live under the rule of a government that promotes violence. This country has the one of the highest numbers of its population living behind bars. Our prisons are overcrowded and yet, very few states still enforce the death penalty for these repeat offenders.

And for some reason no one will even attempt to speak out about how to deal with our own issues at the homeland; regarding the rise of violence in teens, parents at football and soccer games and even the ride we have to and from work. We hear it as kids, the constant need to try to be the best at everything, be number one, WIN, fight till the end! Our society cannot deal with conflict. Our fearless leaders will not wait to talk, speak or debate. No, it is all about who pulls out the guns first and starts throwing the punches.

I am a middle age female who has been beaten down by my own fear of what has become of this society. Early in life, I knew I did not want to bring a child into this world to experience anything like what I had endured. Still to this day, I am unmarried and have no children. To raise a child successfully in this world we have created is not impossible, but more than I can dare to imagine. This vicious cycle of violence must eventually end. It starts with our government and trickles down to parents and on to our children. God bless us all!

JasonGoldtrap April 9, 2008, 8:47 PM

“The American pop culture is teaching girls to live without a moral compass,” so says Jason Goldtrap, author of the novel Sarah Conrad of Eagle Creek. “We are raising kids to be fatality neutral in a world which features an ever growing chasm between action and consequence. Had these girls not been fighting they would have easily switched to kissing each other on video tape to please their boyfriends and gain their fifteen seconds of fame.”

Jason Goldtrap

Anonymous Coward April 9, 2008, 9:07 PM

Good article especially for the fact that it’s sole purpose was to promote four disturbing videos. Hope they generate lots of page hits for you, the four disturbing videos you have put up. Thin premise of ‘fame’ in order to get traffic with horrible violent videos, you should be ashamed. But in order to feel shame you need to a conscience, which you do not have.

Katie April 10, 2008, 11:09 AM

I understand there were a group of girls there and this child was under severe attack… its horrifying. Still, part of me just wishes that poor girl, as scared as she must have been, would have just ape s**t on those girls and put THEM in the hospital.

A Katie H April 11, 2008, 1:12 PM

Just an idea… but I think a good punishment would be one full YEAR of 40 hour per week community service… Cleaning rooms in a nursing home, cleaning bathrooms at a homeless shelter, things like that… Its too late to nip this violent/do whatever to get famous stuff in the bud, but we can start coming down strong… I don’t think the jails are good places to deal with this stuff… but I do think we need programs that will help to instill some empathy into these young people…

Steve April 11, 2008, 8:30 PM

I bet most of these girls are being raised in a single parent household, without a father present, because the mother wanted $$$ vs. a shared parenting household. Statistics show that most inmates male/female are raised by mothers, who demanded the fathers to see their children every other weekend so the mothers could enrich their lifestyle at the expense of shared parenting. Another hi five for NOW.

Chrissy April 12, 2008, 10:40 PM

I was attacked by a student in a class room where the teacher just sat there and did nothing! It is an event in your life you NEVER FORGET! It is a memory burned into your brain. Most of all the other bullies will never let you forget. I know the pain. Kids can be so unkind. That is no excuse to do what they did. They plained this attack. I have no remorse for people who are cowards and attack in packs. These girls deserve everything they get. Someone should take them all in a room one by one and let 6 people beat them. Then see what they have to say. This stupid idea is now something they will have the rest of their lives to think about in prison! This is the sadest story I have ever seen. Worst of all the girls parents are trying to say “Well if that girl wouldn’t talked trash about my girl!” Are you kidding me!? Your Kid is a Monster! What the Hell were they Thinking? They Learned it from someone or something! This is just so sad and now 8 children have lost their lives over stupid rumors. RUMORS!

Chrissy April 30, 2008, 11:17 PM

It was a total shock today when I heard that all the girls and the two guys are pleading Not Guilty! They didn’t even show up to court! I hope they get life! Stupid Punks! I think Dr.
Phil and them should all do Life! Idiots! That makes so me mad! This is why people are leary of the Justice System!

Black Heart May 22, 2008, 12:20 AM

After seeing several of the news casts and the clips of video released to the public I feel compelled to comment more on the mother of mercedes than anything else. The mother is just as much to blame in this matter as is the daughter. Her attitude points to a very growing problem where people don’t want to take responsibility for anything and try to make it all about the other persons fault. As a ex call center operator I’m not shocked at all that something like this would happen. It gets worse from here though I guarantee it. All the teens involved in the beating deserve nothing less than to be crucified before their peers and mocked openly for the filth they promote and represent. As for Doc Phil, what he’s done is nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt. Once he uses then for his own personal gain he’ll kick them to the curb faster than last years ratings.

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