A new research has revealed that the idea of footballers and other celebrities being role models for young children is nothing but a myth.
Simon Brownhill, an education expert at the University of Derby, said that children aged eight or below were unable to grasp the concept of what a role model is until they are older.
Brownhill surveyed 178 men working in nursery and primary school settings to see if they saw themselves as role models for children. But he found that respondents hardly knew the clear meaning of the term ‘role model’, as they gave many differing definitions.
The research showed that respondents felt both teachers and parents set a better example for youngsters than sports stars and celebrities.
"The results from this study suggest that children aged eight or younger are still finding their feet in the world and do not have a clear understanding of what a role model is," the Independent quoted Brownhill, a senior lecturer on the Foundation Degree Children’s and Young People’s Services (Pathway), as saying.
"The men surveyed in the study, who work with young children every day, supported the idea that children are more likely to be influenced by people who are their own age, who share the same experiences and who live close by, such as friends and family, rather than by actors or sports stars such as Wayne Rooney," he added.