Based on the level of exposure to celebrities, the general public runs the risk of being influenced by their behavior, good or bad.
There are many reasons that celebrities are likely to be imitated. Humans often learn based on observing how others behave, according to the theory of social learning. They watch how celebrities behave, the effects of said behavior, their personal responses, and then decide the value of their behavior based on these observations. It is logical for people to imitate behaviors they associate with success. As such, those celebrities who are considered more successful than others are more likely to be mimicked by the general public in overall behavioral patterns.
Sometimes celebrities are warned of this directly. For instance, the Australian Football League takes the time to teach each player how to be a role model. They train indigenous athletes to be role models as well. However, not every celebrity wants to accept the status as a role model. A former basketball player from the NBA, Charles Barkley made the public statement that he was not a role model because he was not paid as such.
Today, celebrities are mass marketed to younger generations because the younger generations are more in tune with media. Media is readily available and as such, younger people are more likely to observe the behavior of celebrities at an age when they are forming their personal values.
Research demonstrates that athletes have a particularly strong influence on younger people based on their desired career and how they view themselves. Younger kids look up to athletes to see what brands or products are “cool”. In fact, athlete celebrities are second in terms of role models to fathers.
Additional research demonstrates that the popularity of celebrities is not just among younger generations but among older generations who take an interest so that they can better form social networks with other people.
Thanks to the perception of success, celebrity behavior continues to have a significant effect on the public and the younger generations in particular. They serve as examples for success in a particular field or career but may not be the best choice in terms of instilling moral values among the younger generations. Some have posited that it would be a terrible place if parents were no longer the role models children used but random celebrities.