Debuting in your early teenage will not be a brand new phenomenon within the Ok-Pop business. In 2000, BoA debuted when she was simply 13 years previous. SHINEE‘s Taemin debuted at 14 in the year 2008. Krystal from F(X), Sohyun from 4Minute– you could go on and on naming more names in K-Pop who started their idol life pretty young.
But the idea of having a 13 or 14-year-old in a K-Pop group seems to be getting normalized at an accelerating rate recently. Previously, people would at least talk about such young debuts, but now, it hardly receives any attention.
Between 2020 to 2022, many young children have shot into the spotlight of fame as idols. Enhypehn‘s Ni-ki, IVE’s Leeseo, Jongseob of P1Harmony, CLASS:y‘s Boeun, Newjeans‘s Hyein-all of them debuted at age 14. The fact that they are only a fraction of the long list of teenage debutantes is astonishing.
The positive part of debuting soon is very apparent- you earn a lot of money at a young age, gain fame, and most importantly, get plenty of time to build your career doing what you love.
But how do individuals get affected by starting their careers in the idol industry so early? Is it always this nice?
Experts say it is not. As much as debuting young allows these idols to have longer, more prospective careers, it comes at a dear cost.
Pop-culture critic Ha Jae Kun says that becoming an idol at such as young age means missing out on all the socializing opportunities kids get at school through interacting with their peers and making memories.
Debuting at such a young age usually means they miss out on such experiences. In the worst case, if they fail to succeed as celebrities, they are left with limited career options since they’ve probably missed a good portion of their training because of idol actions
—Ha Jae Kun
Psychology professor Lim Myung Ho from Dankook University expands this level additional. As somebody specializing in little one and adolescence psychology, Lim Myun Ho feels that the isolation trainees go below earlier than debuting has a a lot greater influence than simply lacking out on socialization.
The coaching system in Ok-Pop cuts these youngsters off from the true world a lot that they find yourself getting disadvantaged of psychological progress and maturity.
Even in the event that they do rise to stardom, there’s a excessive risk that they may discover it troublesome to deal with their feelings or be resilient when confronted with stress. They might also be significantly affected by hate feedback, then grow to be unable to manage and spiral into self-destructive habits, which we’ve seen many celebrities do. The deprivation of socialization is an even bigger subject than skipping faculty
—Lim Myung Ho
Another concern that not solely specialists but additionally most of the people appear to be anxious about is the dearth of age-appropriate ideas within the music that these younger idols partake in.
Lee Gyu Tag, a professor of pop music and media research at George Mason University Korea, explains that this pattern of debuting younger idols may need its inception within the recognition of trot audition packages the place little one individuals acquire plenty of consideration. But in these reveals, little one individuals are allowed to behave their age.
The drawback is, whereas trot packages anticipate them [child contestants] to carry out like the youngsters they’re, idol auditions require even these of their early teen years to behave like skilled Ok-pop artists. I’m unsure how acceptable it’s for kids to behave means too mature for his or her age.
—Lee Gyu Tag
This drawback is much more extreme for feminine idols. According to professor Lee, the favored picture of Korean woman teams has shifted from the demure and harmless woman to the sturdy and mature girl. But younger idols don’t have the life expertise that may assist them relate to those photos and healthily venture them.
Plus, the problem of the over-sexualization of younger idols can also be a persistent concern. It is not only about revealing clothes but additionally younger youngsters being compelled to take up mindsets they don’t seem to be prepared for but.
Putting your self on the market at such a younger age means the complete world has entry to you and your life. MBC’s latest survival program “My Teenage Girl” stirred up plenty of dialog for that includes individuals as younger as 11 years previous.
Two individuals on the present carried out Oh My Girl’s “Nonstop” and obtained harsh criticism from the judges. But when it was revealed that the 2 had been solely 14 and 15 years previous, many viewers realized how problematic the entire thing was.
According to professor Lim, any such an expertise might be very psychologically tolling for teenagers. The clip was shared many occasions over the web with the intention of ridiculing these two performers. The indisputable fact that their embarrassing efficiency will dwell without end on the web might be extremely traumatizing to these women.
I’d even say it’s a type of emotional abuse dedicated below the identify of present enterprise. Those little one contestants aren’t being protected in any respect. No little one needs to be allowed to undergo such a traumatic expertise […] There needs to be the next, maybe authorized, restrict on the age of audition present contestants.
—Lim Myung Ho
According to professor Lee, debuting younger youngsters as full-fledged artists like this additionally feeds into the “factory system” stereotype of Ok-Pop.
This stereotype can be additional bolstered if extra early youngsters proceed to debut as Ok-pop idols and sing lyrics they’ll’t even relate to as a result of they’re too younger. Of course, artists don’t all the time must sing about their direct experiences. But when the performer is just too younger, it’s troublesome to just accept the music as ‘wholly theirs.
—Lee Gyu Tag
Despite the criticism and obvious signs of its harmful effects, it is highly unlikely that young debuts will stop anytime soon in K-Pop. While professor Lim suggests that the management labels need to build resources that can support young artists’ psychological well being, critic Ha believes the viewers additionally must be vigilant and name out inappropriate therapy or over-sexualization of those younger youngsters.