Today’s star kids? They’re different. They have their own security guards, their own social media handles and their own ‘followers’ on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and SnapChat. They are bold, they are bindaas, and they can be bad-ass. But that’s what millennials are all about. Blush and bluster and bold and brazen. Yet, plenty of fluster and stammer too. What else can we expect of a teen or pre-teen? Kids will be kids. And they may post bold, wild pics in bikinis or party dresses. They may post recordings of themselves dancing wildly or with boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. Except that by virtue of being so-and-so’s daughter/son, they attract more media glare. They posted daring pics earlier too, but in privately printed albums. Circulated only amongst the select.

Yes, in the age of the Kardashians where baby poop is also news, everything is ‘out there’. Maybe a bit too much. But then teenagers have never really understood that, have they? That’s why they’re teens. Because they’re rebellious and ‘anti-establishment’ and well, ‘supposed-to-be-wild’? But dammit, a teen is NOT supposed to think like an adult. Because they are not adults. They are kids, however mature that might be.

So, before the advent of social media and public platforms, they were this crazy too. Bobby Deol partied, Sunny Deol partied; Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan were out every night. Pooja Bhatt was a wild child, Pooja Bedi, Riya and Raima Sen, Zayed and Fardeen Khan, even Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Kareena, Karisma, Saif – the list goes on – But what happened on the dance floor, stayed on the dance floor. Unless the grapevine picked up whispers and gossip cats mewed it out for the world. Today’s famous star kids? They post everything! They want to make a statement. In a competitive world, as they ready for their launches, every eyeball is important. They make statements with their fashion (or lack of it), they make news when spotted dancing with the opposite sex, they make headlines for their high heels.They just want to be the next big thing in Bollywood. Like “Papa/ Mama”. But they still have to be launched. They’re not quite the ‘flavour of the month’ yet. They have to earn the ‘superstar tag’ like their dad/mum earned it.

However, today’s ‘dumbed down’ media, mostly school/ college dropouts from far-flung states and keen to rub shoulders with ‘stars’ seem to be starved of entertainment news or news content. Hence, they lap it up when a Jahnvi Kapoor makes public appearances with mom Sridevi and dad Boney. That is fine. Because the idea of a public appearance is to be noticed and the pictures splashed. That’s a pre-grooming session. But say, if a star kid simply wants to catch a movie with friends in a public theatre, like any teen, any media cornering or intimidating the child is crossing the line. What happened to Suhana (SRK) Khan bordered on stalking, intimidation and harassment. It was the hounding of a kid. Cases where people have been arrested, warned or been given restraining orders in lesser incidents; when the victim wasn’t a mini-celeb.

If the kids act like kids, at least the media and its Editors should instruct their crews to act within the ethic of journalism. Or has that been cast to the wind? Go ahead, harass the star. Ask all those Qs. But don’t cross the line with an already hounded youth. Their time will come. You will get your opportunity. Pay heed when Shah Rukh, a distraught father, humbly requested the media not to ‘stalk’ his daughter. Next time, the request may not be quite as polite.

To end on a musical note, we distort a Pink Floyd line to underline an opinion – “Hey, Media, Leave the kids alone”.

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