Should the K-pop industry set an age limit?

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Overworked // Following rules and regulations within companies has become loosely regulated. Businesses are increasingly breaking the unwritten rule of having kids become a part of the industry which results in several consequences. (Illustration courtesy of Talia Medina)

by Ienka Santos

In previous years, the K-pop industry had placed reasonable age limits for their debuting artists, ranging from 16 to 20 years old. Recently, different music companies, such as Hybe and JYP, have broken this quota and proceeded to debut artists at much younger ages, teens who haven’t even hit the age of 18 are being put out in this industry full of stress. There should be more legal action to protect the kids of the industry.

Becoming an idol comes with many responsibilities, of which include maintaining a good image for the public and rigorously practicing for hours on end. This can take a toll on these K-pop idols’ health, with almost no time for them to relax or enjoy life. These young idols who are only in their early teen years should be able to enjoy their youth and not have stress given to them, as they are still maturing and developing their mindset.

No matter how great fame might seem, it does have negative consequences with it. Especially in the Kpop Industry, fans can become very harsh and hypocritical causing the artist to obtain mental and physical health issues. Boundaries are always crossed, and privacy can be deemed close to none. So putting a 14-year-old through this is torturous because they are being stripped of their freedom and cause their mental health to deplete.

One simple action can be judged by millions of people, sometimes even going as far as sending threats towards the idols; this can greatly affect their mental health, and completely change how they may act, all because they were just being themselves. 

Unfortunately, a perfect example of this would be Wonyoung, a member of the girl group IVE. Wonyoung has been put in the spotlight ever since she was 14, constantly being criticized for everything she does. In one instance where she was eating a strawberry, many “fans” made fun of the way she ate, even calling her names and dubbing her a “pick-me” girl.

The kpop industry is clearly not suitable for young teens to work in, as it comes with a lot of backlash, and repercussions that can be damaging to one’s mental and physical health.