Jul 29, 2014
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Justin Bieber Smoking Pot Provokes Teens to Cut Themselves – Maybe

Coronado moms weigh in on news about the pop star's pot smoking and the launch of the #CutforBieber social media campaign. Should parents care or shrug?

Justin Bieber Smoking Pot Provokes Teens to Cut Themselves – Maybe Justin Bieber Smoking Pot Provokes Teens to Cut Themselves – Maybe

Cut yourself in protest of Justin Bieber's pot use?

That's what singing superstar Bieber's largely pre-teen and teenage fan base apparently promoted after photos surfaced showing the teen
idol smoking pot.

Of course, celebrities behaving badly are more the norm than the exception these days.

  • Legendary Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps also suffered after the media exposed him smoking a bong.
  • Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan have been newsmakers with their less-than-decorous behavior (the latter can't seem to see through the smoke of fame and fortune).
  • Lance Armstrong's ongoing doping has set off one devastating consequence after another for the now-dethroned king of cycling, and the debacle continues to dominate the headlines.

Though you may not have heard about the #CutForBieber social network campaign on mainstream news, it spread like wildfire in cyberspace. News about Bieber's pot smoking radiated around the globe faster than you can inhale, and seemingly upset the adolescent set who made their sentiments known.

In an bizarre twist, the hashtag #CutforBieber ran amok ( after beginning, it appears, as a hoax) on popular social networking sites like Twitter and Instagram where “Beliebers” apparently posted photos showing fans cutting themselves. Some photos were deemed fake; the authenticity of others remains undetermined.

In the aftermath of the scorching social media coverage this
incident got, the Biebs himself posted tweets in an attempt to excuse his
behavior as growing pains: “everyday growing and learning. trying
to be better. u get knocked down, u get up,” he posted.

On one hand, some may think that his fans were at least trying to steer their idol away from becoming a victim of his wild and wooly teen urges. He is not even 19 after all.

However, adults were mortified about the apparently fanatical
approach susceptible fans took in cyberspace where posted photos of bloody wrists seemed to contradict the message of safety his fans were trying to send.

This week's Parents Talk asks: How do we feel as parents about this teen idol's behavior now that he's growing up and doing more adult-oriented things?  

And does this event send the wrong message to kids who admire their teen idols?

Tonia Accetta: We have seen this before!! And it seems to be a constant struggle for child pop stars and Hollywood stars. Their parents push them into the spotlight at very young ages and then lose control of them as they hit their teens. Parents that are considering a quick leap to fame and fortune for their family through one of their children should think twice. The cost could be greater than the gain. We have seen (alleged) drug use now with Miley Cyrus and now Justin Bieber. There is no consequence for these young teens and our kids use this as a sign that adults have no control over them. This is why they brazenly keep posting their exploits online for all to see.

This question was raised by the New York Times recently “Have we lost the war on drugs?’

I say, have we stopped trying to fight it?

Tam Dorow: Justin Bieber is a boy coming of age under a microscope that has a direct link to the internet. He is doing what the majority of kids do, testing out limitations and trying new things. The last few Presidents of the United States have given non-conclusive answers to questions of their youthful marijuana use, one of them involving the now famous response from Bill Clinton that he “didn't inhale.”

We have some serious social problems right now like: mass shootings, Mali, Syria, the global financial problems, and gang rape in India. Even Lance Armstrong's incredibly disappointing behavior resonates more with me than a young celebrity smoking pot.  

Unsavory behaviors and bad choices by young (and some not so young) celebrities are the norm, not the exception. I'm ready for our society to take that in stride and not make a news story out of it.  

Kelly Dunbar: Since the oldest of our four children is approaching 10, Justin Bieber is not a much discussed figure in our house, but this recent incident ignited a conversation about our values as a family and how we want to raise our kids to become courageous, strong individuals of good, ethical character, able to make the right decisions.

While my oldest daughter admires athletic figures, we have a privilege as parents to set examples of how to conduct yourself in everyday situations. We lay the ground rules of what is acceptable behavior and establish predetermined consequences when the rules are broken. With our young children the major infraction we encounter is lying, but looking ahead, drugs are drugs.

Bieber broke the law by using a controlled substance which inhibits your decision making and alters your ability to control your actions. The same could be said for underage drinking. When I was going through adolescence, it was about not wanting to consume alcoholic beverages underage and not wanting to experiment with controlled substances because I had a bigger goal in life. I wanted something more than getting the buzz the other kids talked about. I wanted a full ride to college and the potential consequences of what could happen if I broke the law weren't worth the risk of losing my dream.  

For my children, we teach them to set goals and visualize where their passions in life can take them. I explain how they are given one body to get through this life and they need to respect it, care for it, and choose wisely the activities they participate in. When I learn of the incidents with Bieber or any other public figure my children may look up to, I'm disappointed, but find it an opportunity to do a self check and ensure I am living the example I want my kids to witness.  

Suzette Valle: We can't hide news of unsavory incidents involving the rich and famous from our kids anymore. They have grown up with social media as their version of a daily newspaper; whether reading about current pop culture events or issues with their BFFs, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are accessed as a source of information. The photos and status updates that stream across kids' feeds can be alarming, such as the photos of Bieber's fans allegedly cutting themselves, and admittedly social networks make a parent's job more difficult.

However, talking to your kids about expectations and setting clear examples regarding non-drug use and underage drinking are the best things a parent can do.

Parents are a child's first idol, celebrity, and role model, not a punk pop star.


Tonia Accetta is a stay-at-home mom of a teenage boy and a preteen girl. She moved to Coronado in 2002 with her husband of 15 years.

 Tam Dorow, who emigrated from Vietnam when she was 10. She worked at all of the Big 3 U.S. car companies and has been a stay-at-home mom of two for the last 10 years.

Kelly Dunbar is a military veteran and spouse who has lived in Coronado for seven years. She has three children who attend elementary school, junior kindergarten and preschool. 

Suzette Valle is a 20-year Coronado resident who was recognized by Time Warner as one of the local “50 Best Moms” in 2006. She has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and blogs at MamarazziKnowsBest.com.

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