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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Kpop Idols Are Getting Too Young

In recent years, many Korean pop (K-pop) companies have started debuting younger and younger idols, with the youngest so far being 13 years old. 

Companies like JYP Entertainment, or YG Entertainment want to keep the idol in business for as long as possible, so they renew their usually seven-year contract at least once.

A main cause for this is the increasing demand for more youthful and fresh-faced idols, and companies believe younger idols will attract a larger fan base. 

Although most K-pop fans indeed favor younger idols, what isn’t discussed is how this affects the idol’s physical and mental health. 

These companies usually only care for profit and oftentimes disregard the idol’s health. In short, they are taking away a young idol’s childhood. Idols are practicing and working hard instead of doing what a normal child is doing: playing around.

Debuting 13 to 14yearolds usually become K-pop trainees at around eight to nine, so they have to undergo many years of rigorous training with little normal social interaction most of the time. 

This is draining both mentally and physically, and they are not able to live a normal life even before actually becoming an idol. 

Especially because these idols are so young, these children are most likely unable to handle the immense pressures of the K-pop entertainment industry. 

For example, an idol’s training schedule is very harsh and demanding. This may put extreme pressure on young trainees who are expected to balance their careers, education, and personal lives. 

This aspect is already draining for young adult idols, not to mention 13 to 14yearolds. Various mental health problems can arise, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. 

Another consequence of debuting younger-aged idols is the competitive nature of the K-pop industry. The idols are always being compared to their peers and given harsh criticism, resulting in a loss of self-esteem and worth. 

This toxic environment can lead to long-term mental health problems. Body image issues and stress can further lead to worsening of physical health.

13-yearold Kaylee Lee entered a survival show to train to become an idol when she was just 12 and debuted just recently after she turned 13. 

Many more idols debuted at such a young age, such as Wonyoung from IVE when she was 14 and NI-KI from ENHYPEN when he was 14. 

Though all these idols have become very successful, their training was most likely very harsh and draining. 

It is really sad to see these companies sacrificing children to make money. 

Many K-pop lovers are unaware of this problem because no one has thought about it until recently. Debuting 13-14 year old idols has almost become normalized. 

Furthermore, ITZY’s Lia was announced on hiatus on September 28 this year and is still taking a break. Even Lia, who debuted at age 18, is still filled with anxiety and stress. 

Being an idol requires a lot of hard work and mental stability. K-pop entertainment agencies should prioritize the development and well-being of these young idols before letting them debut.

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